We began our last day in Chicago with one item on our schedule - the official DNC summer business meeting.
The meeting started at 8 with breakfast. DNC members and guests then proceeded to find seats in the conference hall, say goodbye to our colleagues and wrap up business. Since DNC teams sit by state at these meetings, our team made great use of the time and were able to track down the states we hadn't yet spoken to.
It was clear what the focus of the day would be - discussing and voting on the reform package. After a three hour debate on Friday, the majority of members were ready to call the question and vote. Once Chairman Tom Perez called the meeting to order, and we reached the moment to discuss and vote on the URC reform package, only a few people came up to speak for and against the one issue that was still under debate - how to handle super delegate votes during the presidential convention.
Because the group against delegate reform was still not ready to concede, they asked Tom Perez to call a vote on whether or not we could proceed without a charter change in order to allow the reform to go through. We voted by paper ballot, and the yes (no need to change the charter) vote won by 329.5 votes, with the no vote coming in at 106.5. We then began to vote on another procedural issue (whether or not to split the delegate reform from the rest of the package). We were into the afternoon now, and members were leaving for airports and proxying their votes, when Don Fowler, former DNC chair and a leader of the opposition movement, rose to the occasion. He asked that we vote in favor of the reform through an acclamation vote, and called for unity within the party.
Because we were in the middle of the second procedural vote, DNC Parliamentarian Helen McFadden had a bit to do to untangle us from that process, but as soon as she had sorted everything out, and a few more people had spoken and made sure their votes were on record, DNC members showed their support for moving forward with the reform with a standing acclamation vote that was greeted with waves of applause and cheers.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson then came on stage and gave a moving invocation, asking for unity and reminding us that our strength lay neither to the left nor to the right but in the moral center. His words were met with another standing ovation. Chairman Perez then wrapped up all remaining business and we proceeded home, proud to have been participants in a historic moment within the Democratic party and ready to work hard in the few months left till the election.
After a productive day of meetings for state chairs and vice chairs, Thursday and Friday sessions consisted of DNC committee, caucus and council meetings.
Democrats Abroad DNC members met for an early morning breakfast before Thursday sessions commenced (sometimes jet-lag can work in your favor. We were the first ones at registration!), and then spread out to attend as many meetings as possible.Read more
Democrats Abroad are in Chicago this week to join leaders and representatives from across the Democratic Party at the 2018 Summer DNC meetings.
The Association of State Democratic Committees (ASDC) and Association of State Democratic Executive Directors (ASDED) kicked things off on Wednesday with an all day meeting of Democratic Party leaders from each state — including Democrats Abroad of course!Read more
Democrats Abroad joined dozens of other groups this weekend to march in cities around the world, calling on legislators to ensure that there is a safe, expedited solution to reunify those families that have been separated and offers a reasonable solution for asylum seekers and immigrants. The organization, representing the 9 million overseas Americans, has held marches and rallies around the world on issues including gender equality and guns safety legislation, science and immigration.
Speaking on the issue, Democrats Abroad International Chair Julia Bryan explained, “As Americans abroad, we understand what it’s like to live between cultures and countries. And a great many of us live in countries that continue to wrestle with immigration issues of their own. But nowhere in the world is it acceptable to be separating or incarcerating families - indefinitely, at that. Our members, like Americans across the U.S. and our friends around the world, will not stand for this treatment. We’re speaking out because it’s right. Because we must.”
Ana Blackstad, Chair of the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus added, “It’s no secret that Trump holds extremely bigoted beliefs when it comes to immigrants who play such a critical role in the United States and his own businesses. We've spoken out about his ongoing attempts to ban Muslim immigrants and target DACA recipients with harsh policies. But Trump crosses a different line entirely when he holds thousands of children hostage for his wall. Families should not be incarcerated. Children should not be locked up.”
Recent events, including President Trump’s most recent executive order, have only exacerbated the concern over America’s immigration practices, suggesting the possibility of indefinite incarceration for families, no end to the practice of separating families, no plan to reunify the thousands already separated, in addition to the labeling of thousands fleeing for their lives as criminals rather than asylum seekers.
”This humanitarian crisis is one created entirely by the Trump administration and those in Congress who choose not to enact legislation that would override his directive.” added Bryan “These practices are entirely unjust, inhumane and unAmerican. They go against what we strive to be as a nation. And the Republican party has demonstrated that they have no qualms with supporting it. That’s why at our rallies we’ll also be encouraging Americans to register and request their ballots. Republicans in office have proven they can’t fix it. So we will. It’s time to vote them out.”
Democrats Abroad participated and held marches and rallies this weekend in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Grenoble, Guadalajara, Lyon, Madrid, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Strasbourg, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Valencia, Vienna, Wiesbaden, and London.
Democrats Abroad condemns the Supreme Court's decision to allow Ohio to purge their voter rolls. This is a dangerous precedent, and it is clear that it will be used by other red states to discourage voter turnout back home.
American abroad voters will also be affected. Please be aware that your registration could also be removed from your state’s list of active voters. Voter roll purges are happening in other states, and we expect this ruling will lead to an increase in the future.
What you can do to make sure you can vote this year:
1. Go to votefromabroad.org and fill out, print, sign and then send in your ballot request to your local election office back in the US. We suggest emailing in your request as the fastest and safest method for making sure your form is delivered.
What you can do to make sure others can vote this year:
The Republicans are using lots of different suppression tactics to keep people from voting both in the US and abroad - purging voter rolls, spreading disinformation, closing polling centers and more. Here's information on how you can help fight the spread of misinformation to voters abroad.
Last Wednesday, the National Football League announced a new policy requiring that, when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played before games during the upcoming season, “all team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” Teams whose players kneel or otherwise fail to “show respect for the flag,” as the league’s statement puts it a second time, will be fined. It is counter-productive to demand respect for the flag while undermining the principles for which it stands.Read more