Help End Prison Gerrymandering!

As states across the US review their maps and plans for redistricting, advocates against prison gerrymandering are hoping to seize a rare opportunity (happening only once every ten years), to put an end to the unjust and discriminatory practice of prison gerrymandering. 

Democrats Abroad has taken a position against prison gerrymandering as detailed in our 2020 platform and made a commitment to advocate against it in a resolution adopted by unanimous consent in May 2021. 

Please help elevate this issue and contribute to this advocacy work by finding out where your state stands on prison gerrymandering via Common Cause and ACLU and then calling/writing to your state legislators NOW, and over the next ten days using resist bot. You may wish to use the sample letter below and include detail about why the issue is important to you. Refer to the links in the further reading section below if helpful.

If you vote in one of the 11 to 16 states who have ended prison gerrymandering, please make a special point of thanking your legislators! 

Thank you for your activism, and for supporting the push to end prison gerrymandering!


Sample letter to send to your state legislators

Headline: Please Stop Prison Gerrymandering!

Please stop prison gerrymandering within the state of xxxx. 

The Census Bureau has supplied data allowing states to make their own determinations on whether to count incarcerated individuals as residents of prisons, or as residents of their pre-incarceration, home communities. 

Counting prisoners as residents of prisons artificially inflates the districts housing prisons and deflates the districts of the prisoners home community. This negatively impacts fair representation and local and state democracy. 

I urge you to count prisoners as residents in their home community, rather than in prison for the upcoming redistricting process thus stopping prison gerrymandering. 

Thank you for all that you do and thank you for representing me.


Further reading

Prison gerrymandering updates: https://www.prisonersofthecensus.org/news/2021/10/26/state_count/

Article (Mario Jimenez/NM specific): https://rrobserver.com/ending-prison-gerrymandering-makes-a-fairer-nm-map/

Article (Samantha Osaki, ACLU):

https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/news/dismantling-prison-gerrymandering-removing-barriers-to-fair-representation/

Article, The Intercept (Akela Lacy,  November 6, 2021) As States Prepare for Redistricting, Prison Gerrymandering Will Skew New Lines https://theintercept.com/2021/11/06/prison-gerrymandering-redistricting-census/


Call for Applications: Global Team Leaders

As we move towards 2022 and 2024, Democrats Abroad’s International Executive Committee is determined to make our systems and structures even more diverse, professional, and sustainable––and ultimately more effective for our work ahead. 

In order to do so, we continue building robust global teams and invite you to become a part of them through this call for applications! Our goal is to have an inclusive, transparent, and fair appointment process. We need you to be a part of our work!

Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. EDT on December 6, 2021, and after consulting with the DA International Committee, the DA International Chair will make appointments thereafter. All members of Democrats Abroad are encouraged to apply and to share the call for applications with other U.S. citizens who might be interested.

If you are not interested in acting as the team lead but rather in a supporting role, we still encourage you to contact us at [email protected] and share a bit about yourself. Thank you!

 

Available Positions

Charter Committee Chair

Data and Analytics Director

Deputy International Secretary (3 positions, one for each of DA's regions)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer

Events Coordinator

Get-Out-The-Vote Coordinator (Applicants from Americas Region only)

International Treasurer (Applicants from Americas and Asia-Pacific Regions only) 

Leadership Development Coordinator

Membership Engagement Coordinator

Press Coordinator

Resolutions Committee Chair

State Teams Coordinator

Travel Fund Committee Chair

 

Democrats Abroad is committed to the values and practices of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, with opportunities to provide and the ability to take feedback and learn. It is our policy to recruit, train, promote, and administer any and all personnel actions without regard to sex, race, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, pregnancy, economic status, sexual orientation, veteran status, gender identity or expression, ethnic identity, disability, or any other legally protected basis.


White House Eases US Entry in Time for Holidays, Reuniting Families Worldwide

Countless American families breathed a sigh of relief Monday as the United States lifted an 18-month restriction on international visitors, as long as they show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.

Democrats Abroad celebrates the Biden administration’s decision to relax the restrictions as a critical step for reuniting families separated by the worst international public health crisis in a century.

“The pandemic has separated families for too long. We welcome the change of regulations which will allow vaccinated family members to visit their relatives in the US,” said Jennifer Westfall of Thailand, Co-chair of DA’s Covid-19 Task Force, which has been advocating for easing such entry restrictions. 

The nearly two-year-old pandemic has upended the lives of virtually every American at home and abroad in ways large and small.

But the rule change particularly impacts Americans with non-US citizen relatives and loved ones who will once again be able to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and everyday events together – as families.

“I am so thankful that my partner of 10 years will be able to join me and my family over Christmas,” said DA Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus Chair Emily Lines of Germany. “Due to the restrictions, he could not enter the US last year when I visited and hasn’t seen my family since 2018. It will be exciting to get to celebrate all together after so much time apart.”

The earlier rules, which were put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020, meant that many non-US citizen family members – including partners, siblings, parents, and grandparents – had been unable to visit loved ones based in the United States during the worst of the COVID pandemic.

The easing of restrictions applies to Britain and the 26 Schengen countries of Europe, as well as Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, and India.

Meanwhile, American expatriates who have not been able to get a Covid-19 vaccine where they live will continue to be allowed back into the United States.

“We are also glad that the US will still accept unvaccinated American arrivals, since, for many expats, flying back to the US may be the only hope of getting vaccinated due to exclusionary rules in local vaccination programs in places like Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, and Mexico,” Westfall said.

A survey of more than 1,000 Americans living in 30 countries conducted by Democrats Abroad earlier this year found that although vaccine access had improved for many

US citizens living overseas, 24% still lacked access to vaccines or were only partially vaccinated.

To contact the Covid-19 Task Force, please write to [email protected].

For press inquiries, please write to [email protected]

 


Democrats Abroad Applauds DOJ Lawsuit to Protect Overseas Voters

As shared earlier this fall, Democrats Abroad and our Texas State Team have been closely monitoring the passage of SB 1, a bill in the Texas State Legislature that would strip the right to vote from numerous groups in Texas, including Americans voting from abroad (military and civilian).

We are pleased to report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed suit against the State of Texas, challenging provisions to SB 1 that "will disenfranchise eligible Texas citizens who seek to exercise their right to vote, including voters with limited English proficiency, voters with disabilities, elderly voters, members of the military deployed away from home, and American citizens residing outside of the country. These vulnerable voters already confront barriers to the ballot box, and SB 1 will exacerbate the challenges they face in exercising their fundamental right to vote."

The DOJ is specifically challenging the new identification requirements for mail-in ballots, rightly stating that they could disenfranchise eligible voters. You can read the DOJ’s statement on the suit and download the full text of the complaint.

We’re thankful to all of the groups who have come together, from the Texas Democratic Party and the DOJ to the DNC Voter Protection Teams and our own Democrats Abroad Texas State Team, to ensure that overseas voters do not lose the right to cast their ballots. 

Anyone interested in improving ballot access and representing the interests of overseas voters in state legislatures can join the DA State Teams by contacting [email protected].

Please support Democrats Abroad as we protect and expand your right to vote from abroad!


Adrianne George, DA DNC Representative, Elected to DNC Credentials Committee

In early October, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Jaime Harrison announced the slate of DNC and Executive Committee At-Large Member nominations and Standing Committee appointments, stating that "these nominations have the President’s support and will bring the diversity of experiences and perspectives that we need as a party". During the Fall Meeting of the DNC, which was held from October 7-9, Adrianne George, who resides in Sweden and is one of eight members who represents Democrats Abroad on the DNC, was elected to the Credentials Committee along with the full slate of Chair Harrison's nominees.

Ms. George is in her second consecutive four-year DNC term and is a founding member of the DNC Environmental and Climate Crisis Council. She proudly serves as the liaison to the DNC Black Caucus for the Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus (GBC) where she is a founding and steering committee member. She also chairs the DA Sweden Black Caucus. Last federal election cycle, she led the GBC GOTV Team and co-hosted the Power To The People Podcast.

Democrats Abroad would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly congratulate Ms. George on her election to the DNC Credentials Committee and thank her for her continued engagement with our organization!

 


Get to Know DA's 2021-2023 Global Team Leaders

 


 
 

Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus — Emily Lines (Germany)

Hi, Everyone! I’m Emily and I'm an Indiana voter living in Berlin, Germany. I've been here for the past ten years and am working in the field of science communication. I'm really honored to have been named Chair of the Global Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus. In addition to this role, I am currently the Vice Chair of DA Germany. I have been actively involved with Democrats Abroad since the spring of 2016 and have held roles at the country, chapter, and international level. I'm looking forward to continuing tohelp the AAPI Caucus grow and establish more contacts with groups getting out the vote among the AAPI community in the United States. A major benefit for me as a member of this caucus is the chance to learn more about the culture, history, and importance of this growing sector of the U.S. population. It is also wonderful to meet other AAPI members of Democrats Abroad and recognize how diverse we are as a community. As the Chair, it is an honor to represent one of these many diverse faces, and I look forward to working with other leaders in our organization to get out the vote.

Join Emily and the AAPI Caucus here

Black Caucus — Leedonal (Jazzmin Dian) Moore (Switzerland)

Unity through diverse & inclusive Leadership! As they in German: Angenehm Anders Als Alle Anderen (Pleasantly Different Than Everyone Else). My name is Leedonal Moore, and I also go by the name Jazzmin Dian Moore and although I’m from Mississippi, I'm a Texas voter. I started early on in investing my time and passion in strengthening marginalized communities, especially the African-American and LGBTIQ+ Community. For my engagements, I’ve received various national and international awards such as the Miss Drag Queen Switzerland 2008 title, European TOLERANTIA Award 2016 and an honorary medal for my outstanding work & activism representing Americans living abroad 2016. Democrats Abroad is the community where I feel at home, where I can be who I am and where I can help others register to vote and help execute publishing different deadlines for each state so that people can properly exercise their fundamental voting rights, while empowering the strengths that come with utilizing intersectionality. Dear reader, I'm asking you: How can I help? Love & Light.

Join Leedonal and the Black Caucus here

Marnie

Disability Caucus  Marnie Delaney (France)

I have lived in France since the end of 2018.  I spent my working years in marketing/advertising with Ad Agencies In New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco and ran Advertising & Marketing Communications for Bank of America. As a second career I founded an art studio and shop for children and taught art classes as well.
I’ve been politically involved since the 1960’s with a particular interest in women’s rights issues.  I spent many years involved with the National Organization for Women in Los Angeles, including a term as President which coincided with the nomination of Geraldine Ferraro as Walter Mondale’s VP running mate..  I also spent time on the road working on the Equal Rights Amendment campaign and time consulting for political candidates and start-up companies.

Since joining Democrats Abroad I have served on the GWC steering committee and launched  the Violence Against Women Action Team.. Currently I’m the Marseille Chapter Secretary, on the Senior Caucus-in-formation team and the Medicare Portability Task Force and Chair of the Global Disability Caucus.

As a large and quite matrixed organization we have a variety of challenges but also phenomenal opportunities. This work gives me purpose and I know that is a feeling shared by many of us. One of the best things about being part of the Democrats Abroad community is getting to know, work with and learn from such an enormous assortment of smart, dedicated, and highly motivated activists.  It is like a new gift every day.

 

Hispanic Caucus  Onélica Andrade (Belgium) 

I was born in Venezuela and moved to Davis, California when I was a teenager, where I volunteered in a variety of programs to help the Latino community, in particular migrant farm workers. I moved to Belgium in 2016 to work on European Climate policy. That year I watched in despair the results of the presidential election. I felt that the tolerant and progressive country that welcomed me and my family was in danger. I found DA and quickly got involved. I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to ensure there would not be a repeat of 2016. In 2020 I was elected as one of the 13 pledged delegates for the 2020 Democratic National Convention and got very involved at the Global level with DA, including with the Hispanic Caucus. As Chair of the Caucus I am looking forward to working to ensure that the voices of US Latinx community are heard. That means this Caucus working together to mobilize the Latinx vote abroad for the Midterm elections. I want to build on the excellent work previous leaders have done in launching and developing the Caucus. In the next couple of years we need to work hard to secure and increase the gains from 2021. We must also be vigilant and fight to protect the right to vote of our community and other minorities.

Join Onélica and the Hispanic Caucus here


LGBTQ Caucus — Bob Vallier (Italy)

I cut my teeth on LGBTQ activism fighting for marriage equality, starting in Chicago when I was a graduate student in Philosophy in the 1990s. I managed to get myself arrested in 1994 at a small but loud protest, at a time when marriage equality was on no one’s radar. Graduate work took me to Paris, where I continued to agitate for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights—I failed to get arrested, but I did get a tooth kicked out by a skin-headed counter-protestor. When I went back to the States at the end of the 1990s, I had a temporary appointment at George Washington University where I helped to establish an LGBTQ studies minor, and then later, returning to Chicago, I did exactly the work with LGBT colleagues at my graduate alma mater, DePaul University, which became the first Catholic university in the United States to have such an academic program. I also made the acquaintance of a young state Senator with a funny name and big ears, and worked on his Senate campaign, and eventually his presidential campaign. In 2010, the stars aligned and I moved back to Paris, where I joined DA France and served as both the Secretary and the LGBTQ Caucus chair (France had a local caucus before there was a global caucus), and annually organized the Pride Picnic—we didn’t march in the parade as it was always too hot, so instead we had a large social gathering with much food and wine. Now I’m in Florence Italy, serving as the DA Italy Vice Chair. My life journey has brought me to many interesting places—Chicago, Washington, Paris, Florence—but in fact I hail from a very small midwestern town just outside of Flint Michigan, where I still vote.

A lot has changed for us in the last decade, but the gains we made are hardly secure, and there is still much work to be done. The preceding four years reminded us just how tenuous our rights are, and underscored that the very lives of our LGBTQ friends and family—both abroad and at home—are still at risk. Perhaps the greatest symbol of this risk at the moment is the stalled Equality Act, which, were it ever to become law, would make it illegal for us to be discriminated against fired because of our sexual identities or to be denied medical services for pre-existing health conditions, among other things. And the also-stalled Uniting American Families bill would reduce or eliminate long—sometimes very long—waiting periods for LGBTQ families to join their American family member in the United States as legal immigrants. And trans people, particularly of color, continue to be victims of violent crime, often without consequence or repercussion.

These are the kinds of issues for which we must continue to advocate with a strong voice as the LGBTQ Caucus of Democrats Abroad. We will do so as we have always done so—through informational webinars with fellow advocates from partner organizations, through contacting our Congresspeople and Senators to voice support for legislative initiatives, through the raising of consciousness so that members and leaders of Democrats Abroad, other state parties, and the DNC understand why these issues are important, through working with other DA Caucuses to highlight that LGBTQ issues are always intersectional, cutting across age, class, race and gender. And perhaps most significantly, we will work tirelessly to elect more LGBTQ leaders and allies to every level of government, from the city council to the state assembly, the U.S House and Senate, and maybe even in the not too distant future, even the White House.

Join Bob and the LGBTQ Caucus here


Progressive Caucus (ProDA) — Bruce Murray (Austria)

Soon after our Global Progressive Caucus formed in 2018, I bicycled from Madison, WI to Pittsburgh, PA on my Midwest Midterm Progressive Bikeathon. The course took me through battleground states where the now former President had won narrow victories two years earlier. My goal was to learn more about why that happened and get out the vote for Democratic candidates. Along the way, I experienced the results of decades-long political neglect, listened to people’s stories, volunteered for progressive candidates, and reveled when we won back the House. In the meantime, we have won back the White House and Senate, too!

As incoming Chair of our Global Progressive Caucus, I wish to thank all who have contributed to its impressive development. We have come a long way, with resolution and charter amendment work, helping to shape our 2020 platform, hosting strong events, encouraging the exchange of information and principled discussion on issues central to our progressive mission, and getting out the vote for the candidates we now urge to pass big and bold, once-in-a-generation legislation on the scale of the crises we confront. I look forward to working with all progressives at home and abroad to ensure we improve our physical and human infrastructure, combat climate change, achieve environmental justice, contribute to heightened inclusivity and transparency in our political work, and tackle the many other challenges we face. Like so many of us, I assert that our work on these goals will lay the best possible foundation for electoral success this year, in the 2022 midterms, and beyond!

Join Bruce and ProDA here


Veteran and Military Families (VMF) Caucus — Mike Nitz (Vietnam)

I am excited to help our dedicated community and our allies advocate on the issues that matter to us most and to build our community on both the local and global level. I strongly believe that community engagement is how we win, and we can achieve that through our advocacy efforts, putting on excellent events, and listening to the feedback we get from our community. It is my goal to facilitate engagement, collaboration, and growth at every level of Democrats Abroad.

Join Mike and the VMF Caucus here


 

Women's Caucus — Ann Hesse (Germany)

I’m a California born opera singer-turned teacher-turned mom-turned political activist! And I am honored to be reappointed as DA Global Women’s Caucus chair! Having served DA both as a global leader and locally as a Germany chapter chair has helped me to understand how our organization works, what needs improvement, and how we as global leaders can best support our local leaders around the world As the mother of two young women, I am particularly proud to be volunteering with our DA Women’s Caucus. We work hard to make sure that all our daughters continue to enjoy the same rights that our mothers and grandmothers won for us not that long ago, and to expand those rights until we reach true gender equality. My entire team is acutely aware that If we don’t fight with all our strength right now, their future is not secure. Our DA Global Women’s Caucus is a living, growing “work in progress.” There is still a lot of work to do and long way to go, but its potential excites me! In addition to our well-established and extremely effective issue action teams who do research, educate, and inform our members, track legislation, develop activist tool kits and create online events, there are many more projects I just can’t wait to tackle in the coming year. We are currently working to help more of our country committees grow their own local women’s caucus groups and strengthen communication and collaboration between women’s caucus groups worldwide. We’d also like to develop stronger ties with our stateside women’s caucuses and continue to team up with more sister organizations back home. We will continue to collaborate with the other DA caucuses and are also looking forward to working closely the new state teams and finding common projects to work on. I have loved this job, full of purpose and pleasure, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue investing my time, energy, and ideas in this important project.

Join Ann and the Women's Caucus here

 

Youth Caucus — Miguel Madrigal (Costa Rica)

Born on the Fourth of July in Columbus, Ohio, Miguel spent the first years of his life in the Buckeye State before moving to Costa Rica at the age of six. If there is something that makes Miguel tick, it's politics. He got involved with Democrats Abroad the day he turned 18 years old. Since then, he has registered hundreds of overseas voters, volunteered at voting centers during the 2016 and 2020 Global Presidential Primaries, served as a Delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and recently worked as a canvasser in Georgia to help Democrats win! As Chair of the Global Youth Caucus, Miguel will host a lot of informative events that motivate caucus members, launch a mentorship program for DA's newest members, and strive for greater partnerships with other groups, including Young Democrats of America, the DNC's official youth arm.

Join Miguel and the Youth Caucus here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Advocacy — Katie Solon (Germany)

I am excited to help our dedicated community and our allies advocate on the issues that matter to us most and to build our community on both the local and global level. I strongly believe that community engagement is how we win, and we can achieve that through our advocacy efforts, putting on excellent events, and listening to the feedback we get from our community. It is my goal to facilitate engagement, collaboration, and growth at every level of Democrats Abroad.

Caucus Coordinator — Karen Frankenstein

It’s been my pleasure to volunteer for DA on the IT Team for the past few years, and I am looking forward to the coming two years volunteering as the Global Caucus Coordinator. I grew up overseas, so being a Democrat Abroad and dealing with the issues and challenges as an American outside of the USA are quite “normal” for me. And our caucuses are wonderful examples of some of the marvelous opportunities that we as Americans abroad can take advantage of. Our global caucuses span the globe and bring people to DA in a way that reaches beyond our State Party lines by inviting people to join a community and giving these communities a political voice. I intend to help our caucuses expand their reach and audience to bring even more people to Democrats Abroad, taking our global organization to the next level.


Communications Director — Caroline Rowland (United Kingdom)

Caroline Rowland is new to Democrats Abroad, moving to the United Kingdom in 2020. She brings years of experience in Political Communications to her new role with DA, including serving as Communications Director to the Florida Democratic Party and Congresswoman Val Demings. In Florida she saw first hand how Democrats Abroad could influence races and is excited to help build on the incredible work being done.


Design — Alyson McLean (Germany)

I vote in PA. Live in Berlin and have happily found HOME SWEET HOME with Democrats Abroad. I joined the organization just after Trump's nomination when I went to the Women's March in January 2017. Someone handed me a brochure for DA that afternoon. I went home, signed up & was immediately hooked. Kismet! I was welcomed by leadership and found my niche providing support & coordination for design services. I am most excited in my role as Design Coordinator to not only provide on target, on strategy, on time, and on-brand designs but also to provide support and appreciation for the team & those we serve. When I started with DA I was immediately impressed with how leadership guided me along & made sure I was having the best experience & making the most of my expertise - that is something I find so important as I continue to collaborate with the DA team. We are a small but mighty group and it is key in our success that our volunteers are appreciated and valued for the work they do and empowered to take on more. My background is in advertising - with 25 years of real-world project management experience working on some of the world's most recognizable brands and managing workflow for in-house as well as freelance print & digital design.

Fundraising — Jeff Nadison (France)

Hi, I’m Jeff Nadison. I live in France and vote in California – in fact, I just did! While working in the US, UK, France, Germany and Singapore over the past thirty years, I have developed a skill-set readily applicable to the mission of the Global Fundraising Coordinator. These skills include team-building, networking, mentoring, cross-cultural communication, conflict resolution and of course, fund raising. I very much look forward to applying these skills to the challenge of raising funds for the Democrats. I am highly confident that the money raised will be deployed by the DA community with wisdom and efficiency and that our efforts will bear fruit in the 2022 mid-terms. While it is true that I do not have direct experience raising money for a political campaign or organization, I have raised tens of millions of dollars for commercial and philanthropic organizations, and my skill at getting people to ‘yes’ and to open their wallets is very well established. I will be counting on building a strong team that can complement my skills and I will be reaching out to the DA community to learn from members with either direct fundraising experience or who otherwise have fresh ideas about raising money. I am keen to understand what has worked and failed in the past and to help disseminate best practices across the community. Please get in touch if you’d like to share your thoughts on fundraising!

Get-Out-The-Vote (Asia-Pacific) — Cory Lemke / Ha Woon Do (South Korea)

Cory Lemke / Ha Woon Do is a Korean-American adoptee and organizer from Tucson, Arizona currently residing in Seoul, South Korea. Lemke/Ha currently serves as the Chair of Democrats Abroad Republic of Korea and has also served as one of the Co-Chairs for the Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus. He/They holds master’s degrees in international relations and applied linguistics from the University of Arizona and the University of Massachusetts Boston, respectively. Lemke/Ha began his career working for the South Korean government teaching the Korean language and promoting literacy to underprivileged students in the countryside. Lemke/Ha continues to work in literacy promotion in Seoul and believes in the power of education to challenge oppressive power structures, foster leadership, and transform society.

As AP GOTV Coordinator, Lemke / Ha is committed to building organizing capacities in the Asia Pacific region by collaborating with internal stakeholders to expand the electorate in the region, innovating existing trainings to enable more agility of strategy, and building durable GOTV teams within the country committees to ensure organizational continuity.

Get-Out-The-Vote Coordinator (Europe, Middle East, & Africa) — Diego Rivas (Germany)

I have been an active volunteer with Democrats Abroad since 2015 and am now honored to mobilize voters across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa as the EMEA GOTV Coordinator. After being Chair of Democrats Abroad Berlin from 2017-2021, I know first hand that when we organize, Democrats Abroad can be the margin of victory. Next to my experience as a local DA leader in Berlin, I bring institutional knowledge of DA and the Democratic Party: I have been a DPCA Voting Rep. since 2019 and was a Bernie Sanders Delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention. During the day I work at the Berlin based think-tank Das Progressive Zentrum managing political projects and conferences focusing on transatlantic relations and progressive governance. After collaborating with so many great volunteers around the world to keep the House and win the Presidency in 2020, I am not ready to sit 2022 out. Progress needs sustainable and consistent action, and I am eager to bring my institutional knowledge as well as my organizing and management skills to the 2022 midterm campaign: together, we can once again be the margin of victory.

Internal Communications — Brooke Burns (France)

I'm thrilled to take on the role of Global Internal Comms Coordinator for DA! After serving at the local and regional level, I've listened to a lot of folks report back on what works, and what still needs improvement. In the coming months, I plan to carefully evaluate existing processes and target areas where we can improve our transparency and accessibility, while boosting engagement with new and existing members. My professional background is in communications. I help people from around the world integrate into a new system, provide the information that lets them maximize their engagement (and enjoyment!) with the organization, and empowers them to have a positive experience in a new community. On an average day, you might find me editing an internal newsletter, updating our website or internal portal, managing an internal database, or preparing a communication on behalf of other leaders in the organization. I'm looking forward to working with everyone!

IT — Shari Temple (Germany)

I'm excited to continue in the role of Global IT Coordinator. As an IT professional, I find this team as a great way to use my skills to help Democrats Abroad get out the vote (GOTV). I enjoy working with the talented and creative people on the team to come up with ideas and ways to make our work easier while achieving our mission to elect more Democrats. We are always looking for ways to improve our technology and make things simpler.

 

Press — Daniel Strief (United Kingdom)

I’m excited to serve as the Global Press Coordinator for Democrats Abroad. I’m a freelance writer, policy analyst and lecturer in the UK, where I’ve been based for nearly two decades. I began my career in journalism in New York and London before earning a PhD in International History from the London School of Economics, where I also taught as a Fellow. After years spent teaching and writing about politics, I'm looking forward to getting off the sidelines and making a positive contribution to Democratic causes.

Social Media — Edgar Lopez-Vallejo (Mexico)

I am a serial migrant who loves sharing with the Dems Abroad our borderless worldview and commitment to improving civilization, no matter where we are on the planet. I have put my skills as a media content creator (multilingual audiovisual writer, editor, producer) in the service of helping US citizens abroad to vote and remain a vital part of the country’s body politic. This term I will do my best to carry throughout our Global Social Media platforms the Democrats Abroad ideals, goals, and discourse, all around the Earth, so it can echo in the minds of US citizens everywhere, motivate them to vote back home and be, evermore, the margin of victory for the right side of History.

Voter Assistance — Kendra Borgen (The Netherlands)

Born into a Reagan-era hunter-gatherer society in Alaska, Kendra Borgen was shaped by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, inspired to help change and reshape America and its values. Her first election was the infamous 2000 Bush V Gore which saw Gore lose because of fewer than 500 voters in Florida (don't even get me started on the Senate) and talks of third-party spoilers.

This is where her drive to help voters comes from. Knowing that voter turnout is the key to success for Democratic candidates, she has spent her entire adult life helping voters get and return their ballots. Energized by the 230 volunteers who came together to staff the 'Zoom Room' for over 46 hours every week leading to the 2020 elections, she's excited to globalize our voter assistance efforts to not only help ensure every DA member in our represented countries gets access to the most up-to-date info on how to vote and return ballots, but also to help reach American voters in every place we live.

Vote from Abroad — Heidi Burch (Canada)

As a long-time DA volunteer, my focus has always been to help overseas voters "get ballots in boxes." Many overseas voters have little or no understanding of how to vote from abroad, so I'm excited to continue working to ensure that VFA has the most accurate and up-to-date information for overseas voters and is as user-friendly as possible. I also want to ensure that changes to state voting rules and requirements are transmitted quickly and accurately to all voting assistance volunteers so they can feel well-trained and supported. In addition to staying on top of the current voting rules and requirements, I believe DA can do a tremendous amount of good by working to change current laws that are impeding overseas voting.

 

 

  

 

 

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Equal Rights Amendment Task Force — Shari Temple (Germany)

I am excited to be able to continue in the role as the ERA Task Force Coordinator. The Equal Rights Amendment is so important - for women's rights to be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. As a Texas voter, I'm appalled at what is happening to women's rights there. DA's ERA Task Force helped Virginia to become the 38th and last needed state for ratification when it ratified it in January 2020. However, now things are hung in the courts and Senate. The task force is also working to ensure women have equal rights in all state constitutions. To date, only half have those. I'm looking forward to working with DA to make equal rights for women, really equal rights for all, a reality in the United States and one day across the globe.

Medicare Portability Task Force — Heather Stone (Israel)

Medicare Portability is a clear policy interest of Americans living overseas. A resolution establishing the Medicare Portability Task Force was unanimously approved by Democrats Abroad leaders at their May 2021 Global Meeting. I am excited to lead a team of great volunteers with amazing skills and focus on the topic, hopefully, to help lead us to legislative results in Congress in the near future. I have been a leader in DA since 2016, including re-establishing DA Israel which was out of compliance and served as its first chair after coming into compliance. I am now serving as Deputy International Counsel (Global). I bring all my experience and skills to the Task Force to help make it successful. 

Reparations Task Force — Antar Keith (Germany)

My name is Antar Keith, Chair of the Reparations Task Force. Born to a working-class family in the Bronx, NY, I gained firsthand knowledge of political disenfranchisement. This consciousness was molded by family ties to Malcolm X and the Civil Rights movement. Their story inspired a keen understanding that those closest to pain should be closest to power. To date, I've protested for BLM, gave talks on institutional racism, and advocated for Reparations within DA.  

My work and research has shown me that combating the roots of systemic anti-Black racism with reparative justice will help increase Black civic engagement and Democratic success. Ultimately, I found that the fight against current racial disparities in law, healthcare, education and civic access cannot be won without proper acknowledgement, redress, and closure for past anti-Black policies. Advocating for Reparations alongside the Global Black and Progressive Caucuses, I believe Americans of all backgrounds can and will reverse anti-Black racism.

Taxation Task Force — Rebecca Lammers (United Kingdom)

Having spent the last 5 years as a member of the DA International Taxation Task Force, I am excited about becoming chair next year and to continue our fight to pass Residency Based Taxation, FATCA same country exception, FBAR reform, and to fix the tax discrimination that Americans abroad face in the US tax code. For me, taxes are a voting rights issue. Why? Because people don't vote because they're scared that if they do then it has a link to their tax record. Well, it doesn't. The US tax code is too complicated and too expensive for everyday Americans living abroad, it's unfair, and we need to change that. The more we fix the tax code, the more people we'll get to vote, and the more Democrats we'll get elected in to help improve the country and the world.

 


The Texas Legislative Massacre: The Republican Attack on Reproductive Freedom

The Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus and Texas State Team stand in solidarity with Democrats in Washington and in state legislatures across the country who are committed to ensuring that American women continue to have access to safe and legal abortions. 

With the passage of a new anti-abortion law in Texas known as SB 8, Republican legislators have upped the stakes for future elections. Of course, in classic Republican fashion, they have also raised the hurdles for participating in them, with a slew of voter suppression bills accompanying legislation that strips women of their basic human rights. 

But don’t be mistaken: The recent actions in Austin have also further galvanized our resolve and fundamentally changed the way that we will organize in advance of 2022. We will not abandon the women of Texas, nor the Texas voters, who have seen their rights threatened this past week.


About SB 8

SB 8 entered into effect on September 1, 2021, and bans all abortions once a fetal heart beat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks. Most women do not know they are pregnant at six weeks. As part of this bill, the State of Texas abdicates its enforcement power; instead of state authorities enforcing laws, which is the norm, the law is gives all persons in Texas the right to sue women who exercise their right to seek abortion, as well as those who assist them to do so. 

To make matters even worse, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block SB 8, in a blatant violation of Roe v. Wade which authorizes first trimester abortions without any state intervention.

This dual assault from the Texas state legislature and the U.S. Supreme Court on women’s rights, autonomy, and physical and mental health must not go unanswered. We cannot depend on the U.S. Supreme Court, or any courts which have been packed by Republicans with anti-choice judges, to defend the rights of women everywhere. WE MUST ACT.


JOIN US as we respond to these shameful acts of the Texas State legislature, in the following ways:

  • Urge your Members of Congress to Support the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) of 2021.
    If enacted into law, the WHPA will provide equal access to abortion care for all women and creates legal protection for providers of care. It safeguards access to care in every U.S. state, giving all American women the protection we need against six-week bans, mandatory delay periods, biased counseling, and invasive, medically unnecessary ultrasounds. The majority of Americans support the right of women to govern their bodies themselves––it’s time to raise our voices to fight for these rights and pass the WHPA. Support the WHPA by calling your Members of Congress NOW.
  • Save the Date: Request Your 2022 Midterm Ballot on January 1
    Go to www.votefromabroad.org and fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which acts as both a voter registration and ballot request form. In Texas, voters who choose that they “Intend to Return” on their FPCA are placed on voter registration rolls and allowed to vote in state and local elections. All overseas voters must request their ballots at the beginning of each calendar year.
  • Spread the Word About Democrats Abroad
    As the only group serving Democrats living abroad, we track key legislation, provide voter support, and offer opportunities all over the world to volunteer, attend events, and join a thriving community. Encourage your friends and family to join us!
  • Donate to Democrats Abroad
    With the help of DA volunteers around the world, more Texans abroad were able to vote than ever before in 2020 -- and we plan to keep this up in 2022. But we need your help! Please donate $22 so that we can reach as many Texans living abroad as possible!

Stand with us as we fight against these laws in Texas, and all attempts to limit or eliminate the rights that we worked so hard to achieve. Follow the Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus and the Texas State Team to learn more about how you can help.

We are in this together. We are stronger together. We will not go backwards. Now is the time to fight for our rights. With groups already on the ground poised to work with voters in the states, we’re asking you to join us as the only organization serving Democrats living abroad. Help us send a clear message: Don’t mess with Texas voters!

Democratically yours,

Democrats Abroad’s Global Women’s Caucus and Texas State Team


Happy Fourth of July 2021

Democrats Abroad would like to wish Americans around the world a very happy 4th of July! We hope that you’re able to enjoy this moment with your friends and family. At the same time, we know that some of you, because of the situations in your host countries, cannot. Please know that you are in our thoughts on this Independence Day. To those of you living in countries without access to COVID vaccines, we are advocating on your behalf to the State Department, White House, and Congress to make vaccines available to all Americans overseas. 

As we look at the United States from around the world, it’s clear that America is coming back – together. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the American Jobs Plan, people are being vaccinated, employment numbers are growing, and the US economy is recovering. This is thanks to the incredible hard work DA members like you did to help Americans overseas to vote blue in 2020. 

But as we know, the work must continue – and today’s holiday reminds us of that. The 4th of July celebrates that moment in American history when we declared our independence and our right for the people to represent themselves in creating their government. At a time when Republicans are aggressively trying to suppress our voices, we need your help and active participation. Only together can we continue creating the government that we want and need. We hope you’ll join us in getting even more Americans abroad voting and engaged in the democratic process - a process that began in 1776 and continues today.

In the meantime, we wish you a happy 4th of July!


Open Letter to Secretary Yellen On the Impacts of Tax Policy on U.S. Citizens Abroad

An Open Letter to Secretary of the Treasury Yellen, on behalf of the International Chair of Democrats Abroad and the Chair of the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force


Dear Madam Secretary, 

On behalf of the millions of U.S. Citizens living overseas, Democrats Abroad wants to welcome you on your first trip abroad as Secretary of the Treasury. After four years of being frequently embarrassed by the actions of our own government, we are overjoyed to again feel a sense of pride when a brilliant, competent American official visits one of the foreign capitals in which many of us reside. Democrats Abroad was honored to play an integral part in electing the Biden-Harris administration, and we look forward to continuing our work to support your policy agenda. We are especially excited by your plans to encourage fellow G7 ministers to institute a global minimum corporate tax rate to stop the harmful race to the bottom between leading global economies. 

Moments like your visit to the G7 are, however, sometimes bittersweet for U.S. citizens abroad. While they foster a sense of pride to be American, they also remind us, as Americans overseas, of the ways in which our constituency is often misunderstood as a group, as well as overlooked when certain policies are designed and implemented. 

U.S. citizens overseas seem to be frequently thought of as high-net-worth individuals living a life of luxury in low or no-tax countries, caricatured as fat cats stashing money in the Caymans or in unoccupied West London real estate. In truth, the vast majority of us are middle-class Americans who are studying, working, raising families, and retiring in countries with a higher overall tax burden than the United States. According to research published in 2019, 61 percent of U.S. citizens abroad have a household income of less than $100,000 per year. This misunderstanding of who Americans overseas are has had severe consequences for us.

As Democrats, we strongly believe in the importance of preventing tax evasion and financial crime. However, the policies put in place to achieve these laudable goals have often been designed in a way that causes serious harm to ordinary U.S. citizens living abroad. As a direct result of policies like the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), we are often denied ordinary banking services in the places we live. We are frequently removed from joint accounts we share, putting our financial security in serious jeopardy, and denied employment, promotions, and business partnerships when roles involve signature authority over business accounts in foreign financial institutions. 

Given the often prejudicial impact of the tax system on Americans abroad, we hope that the Department of Treasury under your new leadership will keep ordinary Americans living overseas in mind. We know you have the best interests of all Americans at heart, and we look forward to the chance to share some recommendations for ways to help the IRS refashion tax enforcement measures to better catch bad actors while simplifying compliance and providing the intended relief for working class Americans living abroad. We are excited to see what the new era your leadership, as the first female Secretary of the Treasury, will bring to the department, and we wish you every success in your work representing the United States in London.

Sincerely,

 

Candice Kerestan 

International Chair 

Democrats Abroad 

[email protected] 

 

Carmelan Polce

Taxation Task Force Chair

Democrats Abroad

[email protected] 


Vaccines for U.S. Citizens Abroad

This letter has been formally submitted to the Office of President Joseph Biden

Dear Mr. President,

We, the International Executive Committee and Country Chairs of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (Democrats Abroad), urge you to enable the swift vaccination of U.S. citizens abroad. While we cheer the rapid and highly effective management of Covid-19 vaccinations within the United States — as well as your March 11 commitment to make FDA-approved vaccines available to every adult U.S. citizen — many U.S. citizens overseas remain unvaccinated, in many cases due to limited availability of vaccines. Although some of us have access to vaccines in our host countries, we all agree that the U.S. government should take appropriate steps to ensure that vaccines are available to all of its citizens worldwide.

As you recently stated, using the United States’ vaccine stockpile to fight the disease around the world is “the right thing to do... the smart thing to do... the strong thing to do.” We respectfully ask that, in implementing this pledge, our government also considers the lives and situations of its own citizens residing outside of the United States and ensures  their access to FDA-approved vaccines.

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