This weekend, many of us are voting in European and local elections. We also commemorate Memorial Day in the US, honoring those who gave their lives to defend the democracy that we so often take for granted. Last weekend, that democracy was in action, as Democrats Abroad held three days of global meetings in Washington, DC. Thanks to the DA Travel Fund, one our members, Annie Tanampai, was able to attend, and DA funded many more of us participating from afar via WebEx.
But fewer than 1% of DA members donate to help us defend this democracy. Please help us change this. Donate Now to Democrats Abroad on a global level. DA provides the resources for us to do what we need to do - from paying for phone calls to our members to social media advertising that helps us get out the vote among the millions of overseas Americans in Belgium and around the world. Our donations really do make a difference, as you saw in our Treasurer's Report at our March Annual General Meeting. So please make a donation now.
I also encourage you to join our Global Caucuses. You can read more about them on DA’s website, as well as meeting the newly-elected International Executive Committee. The Caucuses are open to all allies of the various groups so consider signing up, following them on social media, and even volunteering.
Here in Belgium, our events continue into June, thanks to our many volunteers!
- June 6th 6:30pm - Schaerbeek Pub Social - RSVP here
- June 12th 6:30pm - Brussels Film Night - Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 - RSVP here
- June 27th - Extended ExCom Meeting & Debate Watch Party - pencil in the date and stay tuned for more details in our next email.
If any of you outside Brussels would like to organize a similar event and help us reach more Americans beyond the capital, please do get in touch with us! This is the time for us to raise awareness, ahead of our January 2020 voter registration drive.
The Youth Caucus of Democrats Abroad is committed to generating awareness of the concerns of young Americans and the challenges they face for the purpose of informing party policy-making and improving party outreach and organizing. The Youth Caucus will provide a platform for young Democrats abroad - those who are and those who seek to become politically active - to engage in and lead on issues and campaigns important to them.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The Youth Caucus will be “youth-led” but open to those of all ages who support these central aims.
The Youth Caucus will/proposes to:
- Build political engagement by young Americans Democrats abroad. Initiatives will make young Americans abroad aware of: voter registration and voting from abroad; issue education, advocacy and activism, especially youth-led and youth-related; candidates and campaigns, especially those of young Democrats; US political and election organizing from abroad; and overseas and domestic youth networks, contacts and resources.
- Sponsor issue-focused Working Groups: The Caucus will engage young Democrats abroad in issues advocacy by inviting them to join teams studying particular issues (eg Environmental Sustainability Working Group) and developing and coordinating youth-led advocacy activities and campaigns.
- Establish web-based communication channels for on-going youth outreach: A Youth Caucus Blog on the Democrats Abroad Youth Caucus webpage will provide continuous access to the work of the Youth Caucus and facilitate participation by members globally.
- Work online. Membership will not be constrained by physical location. All general meetings, campaigns, fundraisers etc. will be conducted online via Skype, Social Media, Email, and Online Markets.
- Encourage caucus members to organize live local events and gatherings for political education and outreach, issues advocacy or socializing.
- Be youth-led, with a leadership team made up of volunteers from around the world aged between 18 and 35.
- Engage with US-based Young Democrats or College Democrats groups to share information, advice, intelligence and ideas, build networks and to cross-promote each other.
Democrats Abroad is committed to a world where all persons have access to the same rights and benefits, regardless of sexual identity or gender expression.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The Democrats Abroad LGBT Caucus is the constituency group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex members and any Democrat abroad who supports them.
The goals of the LGBT Caucus reflect the mission of Democrats Abroad to:
- engage and empower LGBTI Americans living abroad to vote in US elections;
- provide a platform for Democrats Abroad members, country committees and chapters to advance issues at the heart of the LGBTI community;
- support Democrats Abroad’s members in issues they face living abroad as LGBTI Americans, such as access to government services and benefits for same-sex spouses and family members, the legacy resulting from past discrimination and Defense of Marriage Act.
The LGBT Caucus:
- supports Democrats Abroad’s country committees and local chapters in organizing activities of interest to the LGBTI community, such as participation in pride events and voter outreach;
- disseminates information to Democrats Abroad members and promotes action on issues that affect LGBTI Americans and their families;
- ensures that the LGBTI perspective is effectively incorporated in all the work of Democrats Abroad, including issues advocacy, communication and GOTV strategy, planning and execution; ensures that issues and policies that impact LGBTI Americans are included in the Democrats Abroad and Democratic Party platforms;
- takes leadership in Democrats Abroad’s issues advocacy initiatives, including “door knock” visits to elected officials in Washington DC, to ensure that issues that impact LGBTI Americans living abroad and their families are included and addressed by elected representatives;
- encourages LGBTI members to run for elected leadership roles within Democrats Abroad and fulfill Democrats Abroad’s diversity and affirmative action goals;
- supports community building among Democrats Abroad’s LGBTI members and allies;
- promotes Democratic Party candidates who demonstrate commitment to policies that positively impact the lives of LGBTI Americans;
- supports and engages with Democratic Party LGBTI caucuses build capacity and achieve common goals.
DAB was proud to join the Lights 4 Rights group to mark the one year anniversary of our 2000-strong Brussels Women's March. The beautiful voices of Indigo Creative asbl led us in song (video on our Friends of Democrats Abroad Facebook page!) and we even able to give voting information to a few new Americans. If you haven't already requested your absentee ballots for 2018, be sure to go to www.VoteFromAbroad.org. See you at our next event, this coming Thursday!
We were very happy to welcome on November 6th Paula Jakub, the CEO of the AFSPA, which administers health insurance as part of the Federal Health Benefits program. Paula is also the Executive Director of the Senior Living Foundation and spoke to us of her learnings from running this non-profit organization that is devoted to helping elderly Foreign Service retirees and survivors. She also answered our questions on Medicare and Medicaid, Essential Health Benefits, long-term health insurance, pre-existing conditions, and the latest on the state of the Affordable Care Act. A special thanks to volunteer Sandra Keegan for having organized the comfortable venue, which helped soften the blow for some of us who realized we might never be able to move back to the US for a simple lack of affordable health care!
To all our members, please take part in the Tiny Action on Health Care - take a selfie in support of Universal Health Care - details on http://www.democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories.
Thanks to the efforts of our determined GOTV Director, Tiffany Fliss, DAB was at KU Leuven's International Student Orientation Activity Fair on September 20th. Leuven DAB member Kevin Bardool and Chair Pauline Manos helped sign-up a dozen or so American citizens and encouraged all the other curious students (especially attracted by DA Germany's "Make America Gay Again" postcard!) to help us spread the word.
Pauline Manos published Scenes from a Civilized Debate between a Democrat and a Republican in News 2017-09-20 16:06:03 -0400
DA Belgium Chair, Pauline Manos, and Republicans Overseas Chair, Mike Kulbickas, spoke on a September 14th panel sponsored by the Université Libre de Bruxelles Extension Program at La Louvière: L' Amérique de Donald Trump....200 jours plus tard! It was a refreshingly civilized discussion (with even a few laughs) that covered a wide range of topics, from the values of each party to the history behind divergent views on issues from health care to foreign policy to immigration, with many thoughtful questions from the 70+ attendees. Our warm thanks to moderators Jean-Paul Renier and Salvatore Ribaudo for allowing us to move out of our "Brussels Bubble".
No pics, but we had a great Pub Social on August 16th - here's what our crowd looked like:
- age range: late 20s to 65+
- time in Belgium: two weeks to 40+ years
- political persuasion: self-proclaimed sort-of anarchist to fiscally conservative
- voting states: CA, FL, NM, NC, OR, and more
And our "Friends of DAB": Wallon, Flemish, Bruxelloise, British, and a couple of D.C. tourists and a vacationing American working in Senegal
THIS IS DAB, THIS IS AMERICA!!!!
Pauline Manos published A call for stories of Universal Health Care in News 2017-02-23 07:00:44 -0500Americans Abroad: Stories of Universal HealthcareAmerica stands on the brink of a new horizon in healthcare, taking a major step forward with the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. However, with President Trump and the Republicans prioritizing a ‘repeal and replace’ of the ACA, the future well-being of hard-working Americans is at stake - literally.And that simply cannot happen.In Europe and throughout the entire developed world, healthcare is considered to be a NON-partisan, universal human right.Why not in the United States?The clock must not be turned back on the progress Americans have made regarding their health. Now that millions have experienced the benefits of the ACA for themselves, they are speaking out like never before in favor of the fairness, affordability and inclusiveness that a healthcare system in every democratic, developed country should provide for its citizens.“The overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of political persuasion, understand that we have to go forward on health care, not backwards.”– Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) –Following the January 15th and February 25th rallies organized around the country in support of the Affordable Care Act, more and more Americans are getting involved at the grassroots level and voicing their views on healthcare.As an American living outside of the U.S. (of temporary or indefinite status), you have likely found yourself in conversations with friends and family back home, discussing the benefits of ‘universal’ healthcare policies that you have experienced abroad. Chances are, you have had a quality, professional experience whether you were working, studying or simply vacationing at that given moment. And these are the defining moments that must be shared.We cannot afford to be silent – and there has never been a more important time than now. America has come too far to watch its long-awaited advances in healthcare be stolen away. We must not regress, but rather strive to improve, expand and make ever-more-inclusive this human right for all people, regardless of economic class, employment status, pre-existing condition, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc.Will you tell your ‘healthcare abroad’ story, in support of the ACA and the principle of universal healthcare as a human right for America?The U.S. State Department estimates that 7-8 million Americans live abroad. That means millions of healthcare stories.Please join your fellow Americans in this effort by sending your short story (written or video) to firstname.lastname@example.org, to be shared back home with our representatives at the local, state and federal levels.If you believe that healthcare is a human right and a moral imperative, let your voice be heard, loud and clear – share your story!+++++++++++++++++++++Americans Abroad: Stories of Universal HealthcareBecky (Oregon)+++++++++++++++++++++Andy (Michigan)We're eager to hear your story: email@example.com
In solidarity with those fighting for women’s rights and social justice around the world, join us to light a candle at Place de la Monnaie on January 20th at 5pm. EVERYONE is welcome to this gathering, invite your family, friends and colleagues and help spread the word! Kids and families are very welcome, too, as we will stand with the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, and with the Women’s March in Washington DC. Click on the link above to join the Facebook event for up-to-date information or keep an eye on the DAB site.
We had an energizing "Post-Election Reflection", with many suggestions on how to move into actionable opposition mode. Here are a few:
- January 21st - Solidarity with the Women's March on Washington - we are requesting a permit to gather in Brussels in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington (objective on the event's national website, http://www.womensmarch.com). Pencil in the date (it's open to all, not just women!) and we will keep you posted on the event, particularly as we connect with others working in the same direction. If you'd like to volunteer to help out, let us know.
- Take the Overseas Vote Foundation Survey - http://www.research.net/r/USVote_2016_PostElectionSurvey - literally less than five minutes on a phone, laptop, or desktop. It is important that we get the data to improve our overseas voting efforts and ensure our voices as Americans abroad are heard. And as we discovered in our many Get Out the Vote efforts this past year, the challenges are many.
- Participate in DA's Congressional Call Storm - http://www.democratsabroad.org/congressional_call_storm - this is a targeted effort towards the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to support investigations into Trump's conflicts of interest. It's a great way to act directly and also remind your state officials that they speak for Americans abroad, too.
- Take regular action through our Facebook page - our DAB Facebook Page is becoming our one-stop shop to collect the myriad of ideas that allow us to channel our anger and disappointment into concrete action. Like the page and scroll through for articles and suggestions.
- Volunteer to help out - DAB is in desperate need of an events coordinator, as we've had many suggestions for 2017 events but need the arms and legs to find venues and manage communication - estimated time commitment would be a couple of hours a week in the month leading up to the event. In a similar vein, the DPCA (Democratic Party Committee Abroad, aka DA Int’l) is looking for volunteers who’d be willing to spend at least 3hrs/week on the Communications team on an ongoing basis. Let me know if you’re interested in either.
And with that, I think we have enough to keep us busy through the upcoming holidays! May they be peaceful for you and your friends and family and may we start the new year with the same energy and momentum that we have today.
All the best,
Chair, Democrats Abroad Belgium
UPDATE: We will hold our final event of the year, a Post-Election Reflection, on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30 pm - email firstname.lastname@example.org for location details.
November 10th, 2016
Dear DAB Members,
On this day after the morning after, as all the dust has settled, I wanted to take a minute to thank you for all of your tremendous support this past year. You helped us register voters, phone-bank, email, educate, and spread the word throughout Belgium. Over 150,000 people used www.votefromabroad.org, volunteers made over 125,000 calls through our new on-line system, and we know that overseas voters made a difference in so many tight races.
I know your emails and social feeds are over-flowing with the many different reactions to the election. It's important that we take this time to reflect, but we also need to be ready to regroup and act if we are to take back Congress in 2018. If you do have thoughts and ideas for our work in the coming year, please do share them with me. I also hope to see you at our next get-together in December and at the Inauguration event in January. News of both will be on our website shortly.
My warmest regards and heartfelt thanks,
Chair, Democrats Abroad Belgium
We have a lot going on these coming weeks, as we head into the home stretch of the elections! Note that our Clinton/Kaine Stronger Together t-shirts have arrived, as well as Women's Cards and the latest batch of buttons, so come by one of the events and pick up this season's souvenirs to support our Get Out the Vote efforts!
- Sep 21st - DAB Media Training for those interested in volunteering to act as spokespeople over the coming months. We're in special need of Dutch speakers, so if you can help, RSVP via this link - DAB Media Training
- Sep 27th - First Presidential Debate Watch to celebrate National Voter Registration Day - RSVP here Sep 27th Debate Watch.
- Sep 28th - Voter Registration at the University of Kent Brussels campus during the day - volunteers still needed to help!
Oct 2nd - DA Germany's famous (or infamous!) Oktoberfest event in Munich - details here DA Oktoberfest.
- Oct 3rd - Special Fundraising Event - more info via Fundraiser for the Hillary Victory Fund
And for those who are very good at planning ahead, pencil in these, too!
- Oct 10th - Second Presidential Debate Viewing, with highlights from the Vice-Presidential Debate
- Oct 20th - Third Presidential Debate Viewing
- Nov 8th - Election Day - there will be a variety of events going on and we'll share details as they are finalized, but we do need volunteers to help organize DAB's own all-nighter.
- Nov 9th - The Morning After - we'll be repeating our Breakfast event for those who can't make it through the night.
Again, if any of you can help us set up a Voter Registration event at your school, work, place of worship, favorite expat pub, do let us know. We are especially in need of awareness outside of Brussels - and even if you're just willing to put up flyers locally with the votefromabroad.org info, give a shout and I'll make sure we get some to you, either hand-delivered or via post. We're running out of time and I don't need to remind you of just how critical it is that we find those Americans and convince them to vote.
Last but not least, please do consider donating to Democrats Abroad herewww.democratsabroad.org/donate
- our Get Out the Vote efforts, including the Vote from Abroad website and online phone-banking technology, do not come free and every little bit helps!
Dear DAB Members,
I recently learned that I must return to Washington DC soon, so I am resigning my position as Chair, effective immediately. Vice-Chair Pauline Manos will now become Chair for the remainder of my term, and former Chair Jeffrey Edison will become Vice-Chair. Pauline has done an amazing job as Vice-Chair, and I know that she will be a terrific Chair. Please join me in thanking Pauline and Jeffrey for leading us at this critical time!
I also want to thank all of you for your support and contributions during my tenure as Chair. In a short amount of time, we have built DAB membership to a record level, informed the community about our candidates, and prepared for the general election. The hard work and activism of the DAB community is exceptional – I know, because I have lead two other country committees and worked with many others. You are great Democrats, and we greatly appreciate all that you do to help our party and our candidates.
In my remaining weeks here in Brussels, Pauline has asked me to stay on the Executive Committee in an ex officio role to help coordinate fundraising. In that regard, I am pleased to announce that I will be co-hosting a fundraiser for the Clinton campaign here in Brussels on October 3, with special guest Ambassador Stephen Rapp, who led the Office of War Crimes for the Obama Administration. It is a special honor to welcome a fellow Iowan and leading voice for human rights as a representative of the Clinton campaign. Learn more about Ambassador Rapp here: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/15/top-war-crimes-diplomat-stepping-down/
Contributions start at $150 (Friend), or you can co-host the reception for $500. There will also be a private dinner with Ambassador Rapp after the reception for those donating $1000 or more, and anyone donating $2700 will be invited to join the Finance Committee Abroad. Donate at https://www.hillaryclinton.com/finance/abroad/?raiser=65941, and we will be in touch with the venue location.
If you have any questions, please contact Nigel Habben at Nigel.Habben@gmail.com.
I hope you all have had a nice summer break and that you are ready to help pitch in and elect Democrats in 2016! If you haven’t requested your ballot yet, please go to http://www.votefromabroad.org/ and do so now!
Pauline Manos published From the Fourth of July to the Democratic National Convention! in News 2016-07-24 17:19:33 -0400
We had a great turnout, both at the annual Independence Day Picnic on July 2nd, and at our Fourth of July Pub Social - thanks to all who joined!
Friday July 29th will see us getting together for a Convention Highlights Potluck - RSVP via the Events page and we'll send you the location details.
And stay tuned for details of our August 25th movie night!
The primary season is just about to wrap up and summer is just around the corner so save these dates for some American Election socializing!
Saturday, July 2 - Brussels American Community Independence Day Picnic -THEY NEED VOLUNTEERS! If you can join Democrats Abroad in helping out either before, during, or after this classic annual event, please get in touch with Cliff email@example.com.
Monday, July 4 - Fourth of July Drinks at the Bozar Rooftop Terrace - cash bar in the evening to inaugurate this new summer locale, more details on their way.
Friday, July 29th - Convention Highlights Potluck - bring your snacks and drinks and hear the best of the Republican and Democratic Conventions; location details will be shared the week before.
Tuesday, September 13th - Panel Discussion at the Château Sainte-Anne - Ryan Winkler, member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, will represent us in this panel and there will be a subsequent walking dinner at this lovely setting; registration details will be shared beg-Sep.
And of course, as soon as the Presidential Debate schedule is released, we'll be organizing another round of debate nights, so stay tuned for more!
We've had a busy month of May, with Mexi-Cali food at Chez Wawa, voter registration at the American Women's Club of Brussels,
and the viewing of "Model Ts to War: American Ambulances on the Western Front 1914-1918" at Cook & Book.
Look out for news of our upcoming summer events...and Get Out the Vote! Absentee ballots can be requested via www.votefromabroad.org, so remind your friends and family (and yourselves!).
Pauline Manos published Mexican food, debates & internships, coming right up! in News 2016-05-06 05:58:22 -0400
As we shared in our April 30th email, we have a Mexican-themed social coming up this Tuesday, May 10th (a pure coincidence, not meant to beat Donald Trump's Cinco de Mayo stunt!!). Join us at Chez Wawa as of 6:30 for a drink or a snack or both...and bring your ideas on how to Dump Trump!
We also hope to see you at our May 26th Discussion with filmmakers Edward and Libby Klekowski. Everyone is welcome – American, Democrat or otherwise! As space is limited, however, we ask that you RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify whether you will come only for the talk (7pm) or if you plan to stay for dinner (20:30).And should Bernie & Hillary agree to debate ahead of California, we'll be watching! Stay in touch via our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DABelgium, or our website, www.democratsabroad.org/be.
Last, but definitely not least, our summer intern fell through and we're looking for a motivated college student to help us organize our Get Out the Vote efforts over June/July. Interested people can contact me at email@example.com for the project description.
Enjoy this long Belgian spring weekend...and make sure you've requested that November absentee ballot at www.votefromabroad.org!