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


Call for Applications: Global Team Leaders

As we move towards 2022 and 2024, Democrats Abroad’s newly elected 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 are currently building robust global teams and, for the first time ever, doing a call for applications for global caucus, committee, and task force leadership positions. 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 August 1, 2021, and after consulting with the DA International Committee, the DA International Chair will make appointments around August 9, 2021. 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.

 

Available Positions

Advocacy Coordinator

Caucus Chairs (individual positions for: Asian-American and Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, Progressive, Veteran and Military Families, Women’s, and Youth Caucuses)

Caucus Coordinator

Design Coordinator

Membership Engagement Coordinator

Events Coordinator

Fundraising Coordinator

Get-Out-The-Vote Coordinator (Americas Region)

Get-Out-The-Vote Coordinator (Asia-Pacific Region)

Get-Out-The-Vote Coordinator (Europe, Middle East, and Africa Region)

Internal Communications Coordinator

IT Coordinator

Press Coordinator

Social Media Manager

Task Force Chairs (individual positions for: Equal Rights Amendment, Medicare Portability, Reparations, Taxation Task Forces)

Voter Assistance Coordinator

Vote From Abroad Coordinator

 

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.


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.

Read more

State Department policy grants citizenship at birth to children born abroad to same-sex parents

Statement from Candice Kerestan, International Chair of Democrat Abroad, Martha McDevitt-Pugh and Tré Shawn Griffin-Noordermeer, Co-Chairs of the Democrats Abroad LGBTQ+ Caucus

In a victory for American families abroad, the State Department has updated the interpretation and implementation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) with respect to transmission of citizenship to children. The State Department will now recognize children of same-sex married U.S. citizens who are born abroad as citizens at birth.

The previous State Department policy required that both parents be biologically related to a child in order to transmit citizenship. This unconstitutional policy discriminated against children born abroad, classifying them as “born out of wedlock” even though their parents were legally married. 

The updated policy addresses the realities of modern families and takes into account advances in assisted reproduction technologies (ART), which could not have been foreseen when the INA was enacted in 1954.

In a September 2020 letter to Americans Abroad, President Biden committed to rebuild a modern, agile State Department and provide equal treatment with respect to citizenship for children of same-sex couples born abroad.

The updated interpretation of Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act does exactly that.

At a time when LGBTQI rights are under attack at the state level, the Biden administration is making lives better for LGBTQI Americans and their families, both at home and abroad. 


2021-2023 DA International Executive Committee elected!

Over the weekend, Democrats Abroad leaders from all over the world gathered virtually for the 2021 Annual Global Meeting and Elections. We are very pleased to introduce the newly elected 2021-2023 International Executive Committee

Chair, Candice Kerestan (Germany)

Vice Chair, Art Schankler (Serbia) 

Secretary, Beth Landry (Sweden)

Treasurer, Quyen Nguyen (Colombia)

General Counsel, Orlando Vidal (United Arab Emirates)

Regional Vice Chair, Asia Pacific, Nicholas Gordon (Hong Kong)

Regional Vice Chair, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (Austria)

Regional Vice Chair, the Americas, Steve Nardi (Canada)

We want to take this moment to thank outgoing International Executive Committee members for their years of dedication and service, as well as for all that they accomplished during their tenures. We also want to thank all of the other candidates for putting themselves forward, and for their time, energy, ideas, and passion. Finally, we want to thank all of the electors -- which included country chairs, country vice chairs, DPCA voting representatives, DA DNC members, and members of the outgoing International Executive Committee -- for their time, diligence, and attention. 

Onwards, together!


Justice has been delivered

Statement by Angela Fobbs, Global Black Caucus Chair, and Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Global Chair

Justice has been delivered to George Floyd and his family, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief - for now. 

We must take this moment to not only deliver justice for the dead but to protect the living. We must help make our country a place where we can all breathe freely, a place where the color of our skin does not put us at risk. 

Philonise Floyd said after the verdict, "As an African American, we usually never get justice."

This inequality cannot stand. 

The House has passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It is time for the Senate to do so too. Democrats and Republicans must rise to the challenge of our times, unite our United States behind this issue, and transform policing in America.

Our moral compass is bending towards justice. It’s time to put policies in place to make this transformation complete. The time is now. 

#BlackLivesMatter

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Take action now - contact your senators today and demand they support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. 


Statement on Adam Toledo’s Death

Statement by the Democrats Abroad Global Hispanic Caucus Steering Committee 

On March 29, 2021 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by an officer from the Chicago Police Department. Body-worn camera footage was released on Thursday, April 16 showing the shooting. 

This tragedy has shown that when it comes to children of color, the presumption of guilt is often prematurely conceived, and often wrong. We as a community mourn the loss of a young boy whose dreams and hopes for the future parallel those of other Latino boys in our families. This atrocity exposes the need for greater assistance for kids of color, the need for social workers in these communities, and above all greater investment in training that would prevent these situations from happening in the first place. 

Democrats Abroad extends our heartfelt condolences to the Toledo family during this time of unimaginable pain. We wish them great strength and healing. This is not the first tragedy to arise from police incompetence, incompetence that negatively affects in particular the black members of the Hispanic and Latino community. 

This year has been one of grief and fury for underrepresented communities in the United States. We have seen not only a continuation of fatalities, but an escalation in hate crimes and police brutality. The AAPI and African American communities have experienced similar tragedies – a bitter reminder that this struggle is not exclusive to one group. 

Across communities in the United States, policies to prevent death by the police are uneven, inadequate, and unacceptable. Improved standards need to be established for use of force and training on these standards must be implemented across the country. The implementation of racial and ethnic respect should be a key component of law enforcement training. 

We call for every police officer to be held accountable and for increased meaningful communications between underrepresented communities and law enforcement. We demand an end to the vilification of victims of police violence. We demand protection. 

We demand justice for Adam Toledo, and all youth of color. 


Statement on the Atlanta Shootings by Democrats Abroad Chair Julia Bryan and the Democrats Abroad Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus

On Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, a gunman killed at least eight individuals and injured others in Atlanta in yet another unspeakable tragedy. Most of the individuals lost are from the Asian American community. 

Sadly, this is yet another example of the current threat facing our community. The rise in anti-Asian American violence and hateful rhetoric contributing to that violence in the United States cannot be ignored. Between March 2020 and February 2021, there have been 3,795 hate incidents reported by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in all 50 states and D.C., according to Stop AAPI Hate

It is clear the derogatory anti-Asian language used throughout the past year continues to have a real-world impact. While President Biden’s condemnation of the violence against Asian Americans in his prime-time address last week is a good start, more political leaders need to speak out against this type of rhetoric and do more to support Asian American communities. More of us need to step up and speak out in our communities to make it clear that hate has no place here. Racist comments should not be brushed aside or ignored, they must be confronted and condemned. If it was not clear before, it is clear now that AAPI communities around the United States are targets of hate. 

While this will not solve the racism problem in our country, we must continue to work together to pass common sense gun control legislation. Gun homicide (mass shootings, so-called “everyday” violence, and police-involved shootings) are a universal American threat that only make other social challenges worse.

Call your Senators to tell them to support handgun laws, including S591 and S763, which expand background checks. 

Democrats Abroad condemns these acts of violence. We stand in solidarity with the AAPI community and our AAPI Democrats Abroad members. We must work together to speak out and stand up against this type of hate. These hate crimes must be taken seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Hate against any of us affects us all.

We extend our deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones to last night’s shootings. We stand with you, we hear you, and we will fight with you to combat this wave of hatred and violence. 

 

In Solidarity,

Democrats Abroad Chair Julia Bryan

Democrats Abroad Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus Co-Chairs Cory Lemke and Emily Lines