Letter from the Editor
Greetings from your Global Women’s Caucus Team! The summer is upon us, and the Global Women’s Caucus is busy planning activities. Our Women to Win Candidate Forum, featuring four fantastic women running for House seats, will take place on July 21st. We’re also busy planning activities for next month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of US women’s suffrage.
In this month’s GWC newsletter, we spotlight the great women who will be participating in our Candidate Forum, as well as two other women running for office in November. We provide updates on election news, including information about DA's global election platform and an article on voter suppression. We also discuss the recent Supreme Court decision impacting access to abortion in Louisiana, and provide an update on ERA legislation.
Finally, we feature an essay about how women turn terrible tragedy into positive political action, discuss the consequences of climate change via an article called Environmental Justice 101, and share our selection for the next Books Abroad reading group discussion.
WOMEN’S CAUCUS EVENTS
Women to Win Forum Candidate Forum, July 21st
Please join us on Tuesday, July 21st at 12 PM EDT for our Women to Win Forum! Our Candidate Action Team is thrilled to talk with four Democratic women running for Congress in Texas, Michigan and Georgia. Winning back the House in 2018 was a turning point for our country. Holding the White House accountable is vital to our democracy and these women are determined to keep the House in Democratic hands. Each candidate is running in a flippable district, but they need our help to take these seats.
During the Forum, we will hear from:
Texan Wendy Davis (TX-21), who famously gave an inspiring 13-hour filibuster speech to protect women’s healthcare. She fought against billions of dollars in cuts to public education and founded a non-profit that empowers young women.
Fellow Texan Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23) is an Air Force veteran and first generation American who built a career in national intelligence. She served under Obama and understands that we need a foreign policy that reflects our American values – not the financial interests of a few.
Gretchen Driskell (MI-07) was the first female to be elected mayor of her small town and served for 14 years. As a representative in the Michigan House, she worked to expand Medicaid and advocates for universal healthcare and lowering prescription drug costs.
Public policy professor Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) from Georgia will be running for an open seat she narrowly won in 2018. She sees racial injustice and the breakdown of healthcare during this pandemic as the key issues this election.
Suffrage Centennial Commemoration Events are Coming Up
Show your respect for the Suffragettes and Use Your VOTE!
August 26, 2020 marks 100 years since Passage of the 19th Amendment in the U.S, the Women’s Suffrage Amendment. To commemorate this occasion, the DA Global Women’s Caucus is planning a series of events and has encouraged chapters and other Caucus groups to join in and do the same. We’ll be sending along some ideas and resources but encourage everyone to get creative and use this as an opportunity to have a little fun as well as to salute and continue the work of these women.
As we look back at the history of women’s struggle towards equal rights, we hope to learn, remember and find inspiration in their long, hard struggle. This struggle, as we know, continued long past 1920. On November 3, 2020, we will use that same hard-won vote to vote for women who can help ensure and grow our rights.
Events during this series will include speakers, films, and information about resources and exhibits relating to the voting struggles of all women in the U.S., some not gained until passage of the Civil Rights Act. Sadly, voter suppression remains an oppressive reality, even today.
More information and a detailed list of events to come!
Phonebanking Day in Memory of the Suffragettes, August 26th
By Marnie Delaney & Katie Solon
Join us for a phonebanking day in memory of the suffragettes. Our goal is to make 1920 calls, encouraging U.S. overseas voters to request their ballots or register to vote before the October deadlines. However, we really hope to have so many callers that we blow by that number and just keep going!
The training is easy, the process is simple and painless, and you’ll be calling DA members who are almost always very glad to hear from you. You would be surprised how many people need a nudge to get registered or to request their ballots on time. We just need to direct them to go to www.VoteFromAbroad.org and get the job done! People are so grateful to learn this great short-cut.
Phonebanking can really make a difference. Every vote counts.
For more details regarding the August 26th event, email the Global Women's Caucus.
Phonebanking Training Sessions will be held prior to the Suffragettes Phonebanking Event. To register, select one of the below dates and get ready for August. Note: all of these phonebanking trainings will be hosted by DA Germany.
July 22 at 15:00 CET Click here to register
July 28 at 19:00 CET Click here to register
August 13 at 19:00 CET Click here to register
August 19 at 15:00 CET Click here to register
Or, get started on your own by clicking here.
Or, click here to watch a 20 minute video of a phone banking training session.
Join us and say thank you to our foremothers!!!
CANDIDATE AND ELECTION NEWS
DA 2020 Election Global Platform
By Salli Swartz
On June 7th the Democrats Abroad Global Convention adopted the Democrats Abroad Platform. Please have a look here to read the platform: Our Platform - Democrats Abroad, which one of our DA leaders called “a page turner” platform. As one of the drafters (amongst many ,many others), I am proud of our platform, as it is both realistic and progressive.
Importantly, our platform reflects all of the work being done by the Women’s Caucus. The two planks that most affect our Caucus are “Children and Families” and “Gender and Sexual Identity Equality.
Candidate Information Team - Monthly Update
By Kaitlynn Newcomb, Jamie McAfee, Rachel Rappaport & Claire Naughton
Our Women to Win series features three women this month: Gretchen Driskell (Michigan’s 7th District), Hillary Scholten (Michigan’s 3rd District), and Rep. Lauren Underwood (14th District in Illinois). Gretchen Driskell is one of the women speaking at our Women to Win Forum on July 21st.
Voter Suppression & Coronavirus
by Chloe Shin-Gay
In any given election, voter suppression is a real and pressing issue. In this coming election in November, it’s even more dire. Ever since the 15th amendment was passed in 1870, expanding suffrage to men of all races, voter suppression has been present. Whether the method is in the form of literacy tests, poll taxes, voter ID laws or hour long wait times, they amount to the same result: they work to unjustly prevent citizens—disproportionately African American—from voting.
In 2018 Stacey Abrams ran for Governor in Georgia, and was the victim of an election stolen by Republicans. There was nothing so blatant as cartoon villains stuffing ballot boxes, or far right goons terrorizing voters. There didn’t need to be. Voter suppression can often be seen in much more subtle ways. The election saw thousands of voters have their registration put on hold, or incorrectly flagged as ‘noncitizens’. Over 200 polling places had been closed since 2012, and many who managed to vote had to wait for hours to do so. All of these acts and clerical changes lead to the suppression of thousands of voters—mostly African American. In an election that was won by just under 55,000 votes out of nearly 4 million, a Republican effort to actively prevent voting clearly achieved its goal.
SUPREME COURT AND LEGISLATIVE NEWS
Victory for Freedom of Choice
By Salli Schwarz
On June 29, 2020 in the case of June Medical Services v Russo, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act is unconstitutional. The law, enacted in 2014, requires doctors who perform abortions in Louisiana to have the right to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of the place where the abortion is performed.
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, reasoned that the law would impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to an abortion. Specifically, the District court (which is the lower court) - after a trial with much evidence submitted, concluded that if the law went into effect, there would be only one doctor in the entire state left performing abortions in the early stages of pregnancy, and none at all performing abortions between 17 and 21 weeks of pregnancy.
By Shari Temple & Salli Schwarz
The Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified by Virginia, making it the 38th state necessary to ratify the ERA - thereby making it the 28th Amendment to our Constitution. However, the United States Archivist has refused to register the Amendment, stating that he will only do so upon a court order. There are currently two active lawsuits to force him to register the ERA: one in Massachusetts and one in DC.
The Massachusetts case is further along in the procedure: On June 26, 2020, the judge heard the two sides (the Government and the Plaintiffs including Equal Means Equal) explain in oral argument their legal arguments. The summary below explains what happened during the court hearing. The decision will be rendered by the Judge in 1-2 months and we will keep you informed.
CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS
Environmental Justice 101
by Naomi Ages
What is environmental justice?
It might be summer, but that doesn’t mean school is out of session. This week’s class is “Introduction to Environmental Justice.”
We live in a country, and a world, that says “It’s OK to value some lives more than others, that it’s OK for some people to have clean air while others struggle to breathe.” That has been both a conscious choice of some leaders and some corporations, and the unconscious but systemic results of the history and perpetuation of white supremacy and colonization. It is the poisoning of the water in Flint, and the hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gases that the United States has pumped into the atmosphere. These injustices disproportionately fall on low-income communities (and countries), Black, brown, indigenous and migrant communities, and women in all of these communities.
STATE OF THE AMERICAN WOMAN PROJECT
American Women: Turning Tragedy into Political Change
by Samantha Borzi-Hedges
“We are powerful because we have survived.” Audre Lorde, a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” wrote these words in her book, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Women have made an art of turning tragedy and despair into meaningful change and transformation of their communities, states, countries, and, indeed, the world. Many of these women have looked unspeakable tragedies in the eye and instead of pulling into themselves, launched campaigns or organizations to bring about change.
BOOKS ABROAD FEMINIST READING GROUP
Have you picked up your copy of the next read for Books Abroad, the Global Women’s Caucus feminist reading group: Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister. We will meet on September 20th for a thought provoking discussion of the book that’s described as an “incisive exploration into the transformative power of female anger.”
Make sure to add the book to your summer reading to get ready for the lively discussion and also give you (even more) food for thought during election season. Look for teasers from the book on the GWC Facebook page starting in August. RSVP for the discussion here.
IN OTHER NEWS
Call for Volunteers
The Global Women’s Caucus welcomes volunteers to join us and participate in our Action Committees. We have a vibrant online team that provides support worldwide. We work to create many remote and online activist opportunities for our far-flung members.
We have six action teams focusing on various issues, and they do research, educate our members, write and share articles on our media platforms, develop event tool kits and create online “calls to action.”
In addition, we are now looking for graphic designers and people with press experience to work with us.
If you are interested in volunteering, please email us.
Request Your Absentee Ballot!
Have you requested your ballot yet? Visit votefromabroad.org and make sure that you’re all set to receive your ballot, since COVID-19 has affected mail service to the US.
And while you’re there, check out their State Voting Guide to find your local election information and stay on top of deadlines and submission rules for this year’s elections.
Also, our VfA Voter Help Desk maintains an extensive FAQ resource. If you can’t find the answer you need there, you are welcome to submit your question to the VfA team of experts and you receive a reply, usually within just a few hours.
Registering to vote now is the number one thing you can do to help save our democracy. Please do it today!
Thank you for reading our GWC Newsletter, and as always, stay tuned to our Facebook page for the latest news.
Global Women's Caucus