This Fourth of July, we worry for our friends and family in the United States, we mourn for our home, and we fight for it too. We join with our allies calling for justice and the end of violence against people of color, and we stand together with our fellow Americans fighting for their rights and their lives.
The US has, perhaps, never felt so far from us as it does today, but as Dustin Lance Black so eloquently said to us this week: "We have an incredible amount of power to make a change...by voting from abroad. And if you want to go home, and feel like the US is home again, you need to reach out to ten people and tell them from your heart why you want home to feel like home again, for you and for those people who have never felt it is home."
Voting is the most powerful political tool that we have to make a difference in the United States - no matter where we are around the world, and no matter what state we vote in.
We must, each and every one of us, ensure that we can vote this year, and that every American abroad we know can too. This is the commitment I ask of you today, July 4th, as we prepare for the most important presidential election of our lifetime.
Please, go to votefromabroad.org now and make sure you are ready to vote this fall. Then reach out to your friends and family, wish them a happy 4th and ask that they too help ensure that every American can feel at home in the United States. For more information on how to make that ask, and more information on voting from abroad join the Vote from Abroad Voting Champion program.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump Administration cannot move forward with its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Established by President Obama in 2012, DACA protects about 700,000 young Dreamers from deportation who were brought into the U.S. as children. DACA allows them to obtain an education, live, and work in the U.S. The program lasts only two years at a time and is subject to be renewable. The program provides no pathway to citizenship.
Julia Bryan, Chair of Democrats Abroad and Amerika Garcia Grewal, Chair of the Hispanic Caucus Steering Committee, issued a joint statement on this decision: "This is a major relief for the thousands of Dreamers and their families whose lives have been left in limbo and in living in fear of deportation by the Trump administration. While we celebrate this victory, the Supreme Court's ruling is provisional, and there is no pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Congress must hold the Trump Administration accountable and fix the broken U.S. immigration system. Congress must pass the Dream Act and provide comprehensive immigration reform."
From a Dreamer now living in Germany: "After the cruel uncertainty that DREAMers have had to live in for the past two years, this is a very welcome turn of events. As a DREAMer living abroad, I understand what it is like to have your safety, livelihood, and ambitions be so abruptly placed on a halt. I applaud the decision the Supreme Court has made, but overall I applaud the work that activists have done for this cause. DREAMers and their allies have shown bravery under threat of deportation, endless strength even from within detention centers, and an extraordinary ability to never lose hope. Today, my husband is a U.S. citizen, and I will celebrate a decision that will allow thousands of amazing individuals to continue fighting for their dreams in the country they call home. Congratulations, DREAMers!"
LGBTQ+ rights are now recognized as civil rights in the USA. Nearly 56 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, the US Supreme Court has ruled that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are federally protected from discrimination in the workplace. We can no longer be fired from our jobs or not hired simply because of who we are and who we love.
Julia Bryan, Chair of Democrats Abroad and Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Co-Chair of the Democrats Abroad LGBT+ Caucus, issued a joint statement on this decision: "Let's celebrate a victory in the courts, and then continue the work to create a more just society where every individual is honored and respected. A world that works for everyone, with no one and nothing left out. Today would be a very good day to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and ask the people in your life to vote."
McDevitt-Pugh continues, "Until today, it was perfectly legal to not hire or to fire someone from their job in many US states, simply because they are LGBT. Any protections were only at the local or state level, meaning that moving across a state border could mean you lose access to fundamental civil rights.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Recent events in the US show that were are only free and equal to live our lives when government and institutions respect and protect the rights and dignity of all people at all levels.
Protection under the law is the start. It is not the end of the road."
Americans abroad can once again use their embassies to send ballots and voting material back to the US, thanks to Senator Tim Kaine and a Democrats Abroad webinar call.
On May 8th, Democrats Abroad was honored to speak with Senator Tim Kaine on a zoom call. During the course of the call, one of our members from Kazakhstan noted that they were no longer able to use their consulate to send in their ballot. We asked the Senator about this issue, and he immediately suggested that we should work on a remedy together. We got in touch immediately and are delighted to share the following message from Senator Kaine with all DA members worldwide:
We’re happy to report back that after some persistent engagement over the last few weeks, the State Department has agreed to revise its guidelines and will now provide voting assistance services during Phase I of its reopening plan. It is our understanding that most State facilities are shifting into Phase I within the week.
Under State’s “Diplomacy Strong” reopening plan, Phase 0 (pandemic-driven skeleton staffing) permitted only life-or-death services and emergency repatriations. Phase I permits resumption of contact-free mission critical services and partial re-staffing. Voting assistance was previously categorized as a non-essential service for Phase II, which some locations may not move to for several weeks or even months. However, as we pointed out, the ability to vote certainly meets the definition of mission critical in an election year, and the standard use of secure ballot collection boxes does not require any face-to-face contact.
State advised all embassies and consulates of this change on June 4. At our further recommendation, State also directed embassies and consulates to message out their current ballot acceptance policies to all U.S. citizens in their districts, and to continuously provide updates if their local policy changes.
There may still be some locations where voting assistance services will not be possible in the short term due to external issues (such as local movement restrictions limiting access to the embassy, or airport closures preventing international diplomatic pouch shipments). However, at minimum Americans at those locations will now know in advance if they need to make alternate arrangements.
Thank you again for flagging this for us, and please do keep us posted if you hear anything further from Democrats Abroad’s members.
Democrats Abroad would like to send a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Senator Kaine for his assistance on this important issue. The voting process is a sacred right for all American citizens, no matter which country they call home. Our members are grateful that our voices and concerns will be heard and that they will be addressed as befitting our status as citizens of the United States of America.
Our congratulations to the DA 2020 Delegation to the Democratic National Convention!
Julia Bryan, Czech Republic
Current DNC Members (Automatic delegates)
Julia Bryan, Global Chair
Alex Montgomery, Global Vice Chair
Connie Borde, EMEA
Ken Sherman, Americas
John Eastwood, Asia Pacific
Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Global
Orlando E. Vidal, Global
Adrianne George, Global
Lissette Wright, Canada (Bernie Sanders)
Tim Ellis, Canada (Bernie Sanders)
Miguel Madrigal, Costa Rica (Joe Biden)
John Baumlin, Japan (Bernie Sanders)
Anne Dlugosz, France (Bernie Sanders)
Diego Rivas, Germany (Bernie Sanders)
Farid Ben Amor, Switzerland (Bernie Sanders)
Juan Cerda, Austria (Joe Biden)
Marisa Grimes, Rwanda (Joe Biden)
Onelica Andrade, Belgium (Joe Biden)
Helen Li, China (Bernie Sanders)
Tyler Cofield, Germany (Bernie Sanders)
Anya Leonhard, Germany (Bernie Sanders)
David Wenk, UK (Bernie Sanders)
Maria Allgaier, UK (Joe Biden)
Standing Committee Members
Credentials – Claire Lops, Germany (Bernie Sanders)
Platform – Travis Mooney, UK (Bernie Sanders)
Rules – Joe Smallhoover, France (Joe Biden)
Samantha Wong, China
On the second day of the convention, Democrats Abroad electors debated and then adopted the 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform. Our broad-sweeping, progressive new platform reflects what we believe and why, distilled through a process of over 7500 inputs from plank polls and kitchen table talks. Thanks to the exhaustive and dedicated work of DA’s Platform Committee these last nine months, we are proud to deliver our new platform to the Democratic Party and are confident it reflects our unique perspective and priorities.
After adjournment of the Global Convention, we proceeded with the Annual Meeting where officer reports and global committee and caucus reports were submitted. In honor of Black Lives Matter, friends of our Global Black Caucus treated us to a rendition of Langston Hughes’ poem, "Let America be America Again." We had the honor of sharing a discussion with special guests, Ambassador Bruce and Vicki Heyman, about reaching Americans abroads in this pivotal election year.
Three important resolutions were passed during the latter hours of the meeting:
1.Reconoce y Celebra el Récord de Diversidad entre Candidatos Demócratas Presidenciales de 2020 (the first resolution in Spanish for our organization)
2. the Memorial Resolution for Steve Medeiros (DA Greece leader and great friend who recently passed away), and
3. the resolution to establish a Standing Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee.
Finally, the 2020 Annual Meeting adjourned after the location of the 2021 meeting was designated by vote for Washington D.C.
Biden and Bernie delegates and DNC members selected
Day 1 of the Convention was exciting and productive. DPCA members and voting representatives convened virtually from all over the world to elect the remaining delegates that Democrats Abroad will be ‘sending’ to the Democratic Convention in August plus the permanent DNC members who will serve from 2020-2024.
We’re delighted to announce the following election results:
PLEO Delegate (Sanders) - Lisette Wright
At-Large Delegate (Sanders) 1 - Helen Li
At-Large Delegate (Sanders) 2 - Tyler Cofield
At-Large Delegate (Sanders) 3 - Anya Leonhard
Alternative Delegate (Sanders)- David Wenk
Alternative Delegate (Biden) - Maria Allgaier
DNC Member 1 - Adrianne George
DNC Member 2 - Joe Smallhoover https://www.democratsabroad.org/1368/joseph_smallhoover_dnc_candidate_emea_and_global?recruiter_id=1368
DNC Member 3 - Martha McDeVitt - Pugh
Much more scheduled for day 2, so stay tuned...
The Democrats Abroad Global Convention weekend is upon us!
As momentum is building towards the August Democratic National Convention and November elections, we will meet virtually to elect the final members of our DNC delegation and adopt our 2020 state platform.
Because of the global pandemic, our three regions (Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, Middle East & Africa) met virtually in May, instead of in Toronto as previously planned, to choose their Democratic National Convention (DNC) representatives and permanent DNC members.
During the Regional Conventions, regional electors elected five Sanders Delegates, four Biden Delegates, and three regional DNC members to represent Democrats Abroad (one from each region).
This Saturday, June 6, DPCA (Democratic Party Committee Abroad) members from around the world will convene online to elect one Sanders PLEO delegate (Party Leader & Elected Official), three additional Sanders at-large delegates, and two alternate delegates (one each for Sanders and Biden, respectively). They will also elect three further Democrats Abroad members to serve on the DNC from 2020 to 2024.
Democrats Abroad sends a 26 member delegation to the Democratic National Convention, including our Global Chair and Vice Chair and three standing committee members. Your voices in shaping our platform and delegation have been heard and will be well represented.
On the second day of the convention, Democrats Abroad convention electors will discuss and vote on the adoption of our 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform.
The Democrats Abroad 2020 Platform communicates what we believe and why, on a range of issues important to us. Our perspectives and experiences from living in other cultures enrich the Democratic Party vision and validate policies in the Democratic Party platform. The DA platform is also a key tool which we use to advocate for issues that are important to Americans abroad. With over 7500 inputs from plank polls and kitchen table talks, our platform articulates foundational principles that will guide us over the next four years.
The Global Convention is the spark from which Democrats Abroad is poised to fire up Americans across the world to bring sweeping Democratic wins in November.
Stay tuned for news from the convention.
Statement from Julia Bryan, Global Chair of Democrats Abroad and Angela Fobbs, DA Global Black Caucus Chair
DNC Chair Tom Perez said today, "As long as Black men and women cannot breathe, we cannot rest."
We cannot rest until justice prevails in the United States of America, until police brutality is ended, and racism is no longer supported and applauded. We cannot stay silent but instead must stay strong and shout loudly and clearly that this . is . not . right.
The Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus invites you to join us for an online vigil on Tuesday, June 2 at 1pm Eastern, to stand up and testify against the institutionalized racism embedded in the power institutions of the United States.
During the vigil, our members and allies will be able to speak out against the atrocities happening in the United States right now.
More information : https://www.democratsabroad.org/black_lives_matter_vigil
Statement from Julia Bryan, Chair of Democrats Abroad, on Memorial Day
Democrats Abroad traditionally spends Memorial Day commemorating our fallen soldiers and visiting their graves to honor their sacrifice. This year we cannot visit military cemeteries to lay wreaths and honor the dead. But we can and we do vow to support those who remain - families, friends and comrades who still serve and live abroad - ensuring that they receive the support they deserve to participate in democracy through the ability to vote from abroad; that their families can travel back to the US through our fight for fair immigration laws; and that they, and all Americans abroad, are able to receive the same relief that families back home are receiving thanks to the CARES and HEROES Acts.
We honor the dead, and fight for the living. Never forget.