Women's Caucus News

Q&A: Global GOTV Team Leads Talk 2019 Election Results

Heidi Burch

Heidi Burch volunteered as the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) Coordinator and Volunteer Director for DA Canada and  joined the global GOTV team in 2016.  Eileen Weinberg became the Switzerland Country Coordinator in 2016, and then joined Heidi as Global Co-Chair in 2017.

Following Election Day 2019, both spoke with the Global Women's Caucus about the GOTV team’s work, reaction to the recent election results, plans to Get Out the Vote in 2020, and more! 

GWC: What is the GOTV team and what does it do?

Heidi Burch: The GOTV Team’s “core mission” is to get U.S. citizens who are living outside the U.S.  (either permanently or temporarily) to vote in U.S. elections — and to vote for Democrats! 

To do that, we engage in outreach to let them know that you can vote from overseas and provide them with the tools to register to vote and request their ballot. We do outreach via emails to DA members, phonebank DA members, post information about upcoming elections on social media, keep GOTV Coordinators and Country Committees up to date on GOTV issues, and help local teams with voter registration events for all U.S. citizens.

To facilitate voting, we help maintain the information and FAQs on www.votefromabroad.org, respond to voter questions on the Voter Help Desk, provide training materials to phonebanking volunteers and to voter registration volunteers, research election deadlines and specific requirements for overseas voters and also research issues with specific import to overseas voters, such as which states allow overseas voters to vote in state and local elections.


GWC: When and why did you join the GOTV team?

Eileen Weinberg

Eileen Weinberg: Quite soon after I started to volunteer with Democrats Abroad, I became really compelled by the significance of promoting the right to vote. I never encountered difficulties voting from abroad, but when I learned about other experiences, I realized I could make an impact. For me, voting, helping others to vote, and expanding overseas voter turnout are intrinsically important objectives.

GWC: What motivates you to do your important work?

Heidi: The tremendous need to elect Democrats to reverse the damage that Trump and the Republicans are doing to the U.S. and to the world!

Eileen: I see the situation in the world as a result of people feeling disconnected, angry, or desperate because they feel like they don’t have a voice, that government does not represent them. Voter turnout is the key to representational Democracy. Every politician knows exactly which part of their constituency votes, and when less than half of a district turns out for an election, it’s not hard to see why few seem to care about serving the public; when less that seven percent of voting-age Americans abroad vote, our needs are easy to dismiss.

It’s about participation too, we can’t expect others to serve us if we are not contributing. It will take time before every citizen will be able to see themselves in the politicians we elect, but the process begins by each of us insisting on our democratic involvement at the grassroots. Working with DA is my participation in our democracy, it’s real grassroots organizing, and it’s a great experience and education.

At the end of the day, it feels really good to help another person get through the confusing forms and contradictory instructions to discover how easy it is to vote by absentee ballot. Few things we get to do have such a direct and tangible result. 


GWC: How did you feel when you learned the VA legislature flipped?

Heidi: I was thrilled! I know how hard all of us worked — particularly the phonebanking volunteers — to Get Out the Vote for all the 2019 state elections, and it was so gratifying to see such a huge payoff. The one-vote loss of the ERA back in the spring of 2019 was so tough, but it was also a great motivator as VA was so close. And more to home, I'm originally from Washington DC, so it's been wonderful to see VA evolve over the years to now being a blue state!

Eileen: Hopeful. Despite all the negativity, polarization, corruption, and lying, the people as a whole can still get it right.

GWC: What are you most proud of with your work so far, and what makes you hopeful for 2020?

Heidi: I think I'm most proud of how we've tried to set up a really good roadmap for people to follow to learn “how to GOTV” and to get them GOTV information.

When new volunteers sign up, there are phonebanking and voter registration trainings as well as checklists for CCs to do voter registration events, a Voting Blog with current information on www.democratsabroad.org/voting, research materials and copies of all materials we sent to voters on the GOTV Wiki page and a central email for GOTV questions (gotv@democratsabroad.org). 

What makes me hopeful for 2020 is the outpouring of support for voting. For months now, people have been contacting us to say they  are desperate to vote in the 2020 elections and also that they want to volunteer to help others vote.

Eileen: We tried hard to listen. What were the problems voters encountered repeatedly, what were the resources DA volunteers wanted? All the information we distilled and repackaged in charts and posts and emails, it was us responding to requests, concerns and ideas from DA leaders and members globally. The feedback we got has been so positive. It not only confirmed that we were responding effectively, but receiving so much thanks is incredibly motivating to keep doing more.

I joked around with friends about the amount of work we were doing in the lead up to the 2018 election. I would say that I was only trying to keep up with the pace set by Heidi. It was and remains true. DA’s volunteers are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with, and it’s not surprising that we help each other deliver and keep focus on our goals.
 

GWC: What do you have planned to get out the vote in 2020?

Heidi: More outreach to U.S. overseas voters! We want to make sure www.votefromabroad.org has the most up-to-date information for overseas voters and is as user-friendly as possible. We also want to  post election information pertinent to overseas voters on DA's and VFA's Facebook pages, send emails to DA members reminding them to send in their FPCA forms to get their 2020 ballots, help train volunteers to work on voter registration events and phonebanking, phonebank all DA members (as many times as possible!), answer questions about voting, and do everything we can to help overseas voters get their ballots and vote!

Eileen: Well, all of the same and more of it. We’ll aim to repeat the successes of 2018, still listening to concerns and feedback, and hopefully we will hear some new ideas. Growing the GOTV volunteer team early in the year will unquestionably have a positive impact on how much we can accomplish. Voting is a numbers game. 


GWC: How can DA and GWC members get involved?

Heidi: Volunteer to help get out the vote! Some ways to get started are: 

  • Phonebanking is our most effective way to reach DA members. It's free to you, and you can do it when it's convenient for you. Go to www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking for training materials and sign-up instructions.
  • Help with voter registration events in your area. You can find training materials and instructions for setting up a voter registration event on the GOTV Wiki page
  • Social Media: If you're comfortable with social media, we’d love to have your help crafting posts with voting information for overseas voters.  

If you're interested in volunteering, please contact gotv@democratsabroad.org.  

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Announcing the Fourth annual march of Women’s March Global: March for Our Human Rights!



On 18 January 2020, women and allies around the world will join together to march for bodily autonomy.

In the last year alone, women’s reproductive, sexual and human rights have experienced a massive rollback around the world.  For example, see this article in the Washington Post:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/09/24/us-joins-nations-including-saudi-arabia-russia-there-is-no-international-right-an-abortion/?fbclid=IwAR2W9W7WBX7

That is why women around the world are committed to marching for bodily autonomy - the right to self-governance over one’s own body without coercion or external pressures. This includes abortion rights, sexual health and reproductive rights, sexual consent, period equality, family planning, medical treatments, and more.

Follow this link to find an event near you or create an event in your community:   http://womensmarch.global/marchforourhumanrights/

 Our DA GWC Reproductive Rights Team will also be sharing ideas for different types of events you can organize around this important issue, so stay tuned!

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Souvenir from Athens: A First Timer’s Recap of the Regional DA Meeting

By Susan Fitoussi of DA France

I was elected a Chairperson for my Marseille/Aix chapter last March 2019.

Since then I have had the pleasure of attending monthly WebEx meetings with all French Chairs and ExCom members and even more recently attended a weekend retreat in the South of France for our French Committee — therefore meeting in person all these wonderful people that I had been interacting with on these Web calls.

When the bid for EMEA city came about I was thrilled! At last I may be able to attend a meeting in another European city and meet other DA members and Chairs! I said no matter where it will be I will go! And Athens it was… oh boy!!

I immediately got on board. I must have been one of the first people to express interest especially in visiting Athens, and since I had not taken any summer vacations, this would be both vacation and DA!

I chose to reside in an Airbnb to cut costs and laid out a rough plan for my first days to visit the city. I had some solo time before and after the meetings.

Meanwhile, Will Bakker (EMEA Chair) created a Facebook page for all willing via Facebook to communicate. This was nice. We posted messages — everything from who needed a roommate to who needed a taxi, etc. It was here that one of my first excursions and meetings with DA people came about.

With Heather Stone, DA Chair of Israel, and Katie Solon, our international Chairperson who I have known and admired from afar for years (!), we visited the very unique Jewish Museum of Athens. It was perfect! Each one of us complemented the other. Heather has a great knowledge of Jewish religious culture, I have a little connection with Greek Jewish history and Katie had many questions as we looked at the objects in the museum cases. It was a lovely experience and first-time meeting for all of us!

Friday night there was a very nice Welcome Party hosted by the DA Greece team. It was lovely, and we had authentic Greek mezzes and drinks as well as Greek folk dancing (which I did not do!).

Well to shift right up into fourth gear, the meeting began officially Saturday morning. I sat near the front, therefore I didn’t quite realize that we were about 100 people in attendance. Our speakers were so comfortable and friendly speaking in front of the crowd. We played some ‘getting to know each other games’ which is more or less what I naturally do when I meet people! This was a very useful tool — in spite of us wearing name tags, we do forget people’s names all the time.

What a fascinating and wonderful world we are as Democrats Abroad! I met Rick from Norway who came from a republican Alaskan family, for example.

Julia Bryant gave us a brilliant motivating speech and presentation of DA and some stats. I hope I will take back all her energy and transmit that around my chapter!

We had ‘breakout sessions’ which are new to me. I attended the Women’s Caucus on Saturday and the Black Caucus on Sunday with Angela Fobbs. She went in deep presenting us with facts and statistics on the conditions for Black Americans today in the USA. It hurts to know that these conditions get worse today instead of better.

We had many opportunities to sit, snack and exchange with different members, yet I hardly scratched the surface of the many people in attendance.

At lunch on Saturday I got to know Dana from Finland, a fascinating person with a long story and life abroad. Well it turns out that later, via Facebook, we learned that she was a very close friend of one of my Israeli American cousins in New York!

The thing is, all people should find connections and things that we have in common as well as things that we don’t have in common. Of course with DA it seems we all have so much in common.

The last day I spent with a group of five other women; it was improvised. It was my intention and idea to visit the fabulous BENAKI Museum. Heather from Israel said she would meet me there. In the end she was accompanied by four other women including Claire from DA Greece, who literally gave us a guided tour of the museum which she knows very well! What a wonderful way to end our time in Athens.

I said goodbye to these amazing people, and I hope to see them again. Would I do it again? Sure!

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All Roads Lead to Rome — Okay, Athens. A First Timer's Recap of the Regional DA Meeting

My name is Claudia Clark and I am the recently elected GOTV coordinator DA Germany. In order to properly discuss my experience at my first EMEA Regional Meeting in Athens, I find it necessary to briefly explain who I am and how I found myself in my current role, and thus in Athens. In no particular order I identify as: an introvert, a writer, a historian, a feminist, a political activist, a community organizer, and an American expat living in Germany. Both political activism and the sense of adventure are in my genes. My mother volunteered on Kennedy’s presidential campaign before she was even old enough to vote. She was a very gifted linguist (master’s degree in French literature), so she spent some time in France, and eventually answered Kennedy’s call and joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Africa.

I first visited Germany in 1990 following the fall of the Berlin Wall and fell in love with the country, and vowed I would live there someday. That “someday” turned into “get me out of the U.S. immediately” following the November 2016 election. While people protested in the streets following Trump’s victory, I planned my exit, and in September 2017, my husband, our 2 dogs, and I left everything that was familiar to us to begin a new life overseas in Germany.

I had been a political activist since I was 15 years old — doing everything from organizing protests for women’s reproductive rights to volunteering for candidates running for political office to organizing boycotts of the local Walmart. Because of the activism I had done in the United States, I was familiar with Democrats Abroad, and in fact I had joined their mailing list before I had even left the states. No sooner than I moved to Germany, I participated in events such as detention center protests and women’s marches. Because of my involvement, in February 2019 I was elected as the Get Out The Vote Coordinator for Germany. I figured this position would be an excellent opportunity for me to travel to different parts of Germany, meet new people, and engage in activities which where important to me. It was in this role that I found myself at my first regional meeting in Athens.

I knew accepting the position would expose me to different people and places in Germany, but the thought of being able to meet other people from different countries and visit places outside of Germany was an additional bonus for me. When I found out that I was eligible to attend the regional meeting in Athens (someplace I had never been), I was beside myself with excitement. Unfortunately, the trip to Athens came less than a week after my husband and I returned from vacation in Italy, where I had contracted a bad case of bronchitis. The bronchitis was bad enough that I was exhausted all the time, and I could barely talk because the cough was so bad. I knew going to Athens was probably a mistake, but unable to receive a refund for my flight or hotel at this late stage, I felt I had no choice but to go, and hope to get something out of the weekend anyway.

The conference was scheduled to begin on Saturday, so I made plans to fly out on Thursday night so I would have Friday to sightsee. My flight arrived after 8:00, so it was already dark. At the airport, I handed the cab driver the address of my hotel and asked him if he knew where it was. He nodded, and said yes. Ten minutes later, he turned to me and said, “GPS?” Not understanding what he was implying I ignored him. Five minutes later, he asked me again, “GPS?” At this point, I discovered he did not speak English, and when I had asked if he knew where he was going, he ignored me. Growing extremely frustrated and scared that he did not appear to understand me, and I did not know how I was going to get to my hotel, I began to yell at him in German. The irony, that yelling at him in German was obviously not particularly helpful, but the ease with which I did it. I remember thinking, “If only I could speak German this naturally when I am in Germany.” To make a long story short, after the cab driver stopped two different cab drivers, and the police, he finally safely got me to my hotel. It was not the ideal way to start the weekend, but it ended up okay.

Even though Will Bakker, EMEA chair, had created a Facebook page with different pieces of information for attendees, I somehow managed to miss the post about a DA sightseeing tour scheduled for Friday. Luckily, I had booked a walking tour on my own (with Emily Frömel, the VP of the DAG Munich Chapter). We saw the “changing of the guard” in front of the parliament in Athens, and we saw some major landmarks of Athens including some neighborhoods, statues, and we ended at the Acropolis. The view of the city was amazing and the sites were truly unbelievable. Following the tour, Emily and I had lunch in an amazing Greek restaurant. After lunch, we wandered through some neighborhoods, and witnessed firsthand the level of poverty in the city — the sheer number of homeless people sleeping on the streets and people begging was quite astonishing, and heartbreaking.

Although the conference officially began on Saturday morning, Friday night there was a reception in a private venue overlooking the city. It was a magnificent event. However, as ironic as it is for a community organizer to be introverted, I am. I can get up in front of a large group of people and help them demand justice (better wages, safer living conditions, etc.), but I honestly would rather have a root canal than mingle in a social setting with people whom I do not know. To add to my anxiety, I still was not feeling well and I could not say more than two or three words without going into a coughing fit. As uncomfortable as I was, I knew one of the main reasons I went to Athens was to force myself to broaden my horizons and meet new people.

Luckily, the DA Greece Chapter brought people in to teach traditional Greek dancing, and Emily participated in that, so I was forced to meet new people. I met and had conversations with the Chair of DA France, Austria, the UK, and Italy. We talked about the craziness of what was going on in the United States, our careers (Jennifer, from Austria, an architect) and the challenges I faced trying to find a publisher for my book. We exchanged stories on the expat life and the difficulties of trying to learn German. Despite my discomfort and initial hesitation of attending, by the end of the night I had met half a dozen people and felt much more comfortable than I thought I would.

Instead of spreading my wings like I had hoped to do, I stuck pretty close to Emily and we found seats together at the front of the room on Saturday when the conference officially began. It turned out that Julia Bryant, president of DA, was seated directly behind me. In the traditional icebreaker exercises that I enjoy as much as a root canal, I found myself getting to know her. I was more than a little intimidated since I had never officially met her. I was relieved to discover she was very nice and down to earth. I was even more relieved that I did not have to introduce her in front of a room of 100 strangers. After the introduction exercise, Julia Bryan gave a motivating presentation about how important our votes from abroad were — including setting goals for increasing membership for the 2020 election. As Germany’s GOTV coordinator; this was one of the most valuable sessions for me. The presenters discussed things such as when to hold the presidential primary, why this was important, how to register new voters, who could vote etc. — info that was extremely relevant for me in my new role.

Since I had not reserved my lunch ahead of time, I luckily found a group of other people (some I knew, some I did not) that found themselves in the same situation, so we all went to a restaurant together. It was nice getting to know new people from the UK, the Netherlands, and even Germany. Following lunch, we had breakout sessions (an activity I am very accustomed to in all my organizing activities). Since women’s issues are extremely important to me, I decided to attend the woman’s caucus breakout. In this session women’s caucus leaders talked about issues that were important to them — passing the ERA, International Women’s Day in March 2020, and a new committee formed to fight the ongoing attack of women’s reproductive rights in the United States. Following the breakout session, they adjourned for cocktail hour/dinner. Between being so introverted and being physically exhausted from being around 100 people all day long and the bronchitis, I opted to return to my hotel room where I could reflect on the day’s activities, regroup for the next day, and get some much needed sleep.

On Sunday, the final day, we spent the morning talking/planning for GOTV — most notably and importantly the person in charge of study from abroad spoke and offered suggestions/guidelines on how we can engage the college students and encourage them to vote. In the last breakout session, I attended a Call Hub Party 101 where the chair of DA Austria talked about the success they had had with call parties. She emphasized the purpose of the parties was not to call a lot of people but rather train people — help them to iron out their problems, and give them the confidence they need so they feel confident enough to make calls on their own at their convenience. As GOTV coordinator, it is my responsibility to ensure that we reach as many Americans living abroad as we can to encourage them to vote. Since there are many categories of people living abroad (students, expats on temporary work assignments, or Americans with foreign spouses) it is important to explore every possible way to reach these people to remind them of both their right and obligation to vote. I found these discussions to be pragmatic and useful with good takeaways that I can take back to Germany with me.

Despite the challenges and my reservations (fear of being in a new location, meeting new people, and being sick) the weekend was a valuable experience. I made some new friends, I broadened my horizons by visiting a new city and trying some new food, and most importantly I came home with some concrete ideas of how I can personally help the American Democratic community in Germany. This was my first experience at a regional meeting, and given the positive experiences I had, I am certain it will not be my last. I only hope that I can build upon the positive experiences and help the next generation of DA activists.

 

Claudia Clark is the GOTV Coordinator for DA Germany. She and her husband live in a small city outside of Munich. She is a writer and she is currently seeking publication for her first book; My Partner, My Friend: The Relationship Between U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. When she is not writing, participating in DA activities, or in her German class, she volunteers at a local refugee center tutoring children in English.

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Up Against the Wall: US Relations in the Age of Trump

On October 2, 2019, Democrats Abroad France host an event on US Mexico relations in the age of Trump. Laura Carlsen discusses how the relations between US and Mexico have changed under the current administrations.

 

 

 

 



Global Women's Caucus September 2019 Newsletter

Greetings from your Global Women’s Caucus team! We hope your summer has been enjoyable, whether it involved travel, work, relaxation, or all of the above. As we say goodbye to the dog days, we’re also ramping up here at the GWC. This month, we are striking for climate change, hosting a webinar with Planned Parenthood and rolling out a new Reproductive Rights Action Team. Read on for more about these and other ways to get involved in the coming months.

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New in the Global Women’s Caucus: Reproductive Rights Action Team

The rights of American women are being attacked every day in the United States with new state legislation -- recent early abortion bans, for example -- and decisions by conservative federal and state judges.

We need to mount a strong defense, and that is precisely what the DA GWC has decided to do. The newly formed Reproductive Rights Action Team, led by Salli Swartz, is open for business!

Please visit our site to read about our mission and discover links to interesting resource material.

DA Global Women’s Caucus Speaker Series: Jenny Lawson, Planned Parenthood

Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood: Winning the War on Women's Healthcare in 2020

Join Democrats Abroad on Wednesday, September 18 at 8:00 p.m. CET (7:00 p.m. GMT, 2:00 p.m. EST) as we speak with Jenny Lawson, Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund & Planned Parenthood Votes.

We will discuss the restrictive laws sweeping the country, the politicization of women’s healthcare, what is at stake for Planned Parenthood in the 2020 elections and how to further support and get involved in Planned Parenthood’s domestic and international campaigns.

Click here to RSVP and receive the Zoom link by email. Please submit any questions you would like presented during the webinar to womenscaucus@democratsabroad.org. We look forward to welcoming you!

TINY ACTION

In the spirit of our work to protect reproductive rights, check out this list of tiny actions to protect abortion and healthcare access for American women, courtesy of the GWC in London.

Join the Global #ClimateStrike: September 20-27

While we at the GWC are focused on women’s issues, we also assert that women’s rights are human rights. The global climate crisis is challenging humanity’s rights to clean air, water, and a livable planet for generations to come.

As the Amazon rainforest suffers devastating fires and hurricane season barrels down on the Atlantic coast of the U.S., we are reminded all too often of the dangers of climate change and the preciousness of our natural resources.

Born out of the same passion that led teenage activist Greta Thunberg to ignite the Fridays for Future movement, a global strike is happening this month to demand an end to reliance on fossil fuels. On September 20 and 27, to coincide with a UN emergency climate summit, millions will walk out of their schools, homes, and workplaces to demand action on climate.

Events and actions will take place throughout the week. Learn more about events near you at globalclimatestrike.net.


Books Abroad: Help Choose Our Next Book!

You're invited to join the next Books Abroad feminist reading group meeting! We've received some suggestions for our next book and would greatly appreciate your input. Please follow the link below to indicate your reading preference and your availability for our suggested next meeting date, Sunday, October 20.

Tell us your preferences HERE.

Thanks in advance for your feedback, and we look forward to another excellent conversation.

Join us! DA EMEA Annual Regional Meeting in Athens, Greece

Democrats Abroad will hold its 2019 regional meeting for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from October 11-13 in Athens, Greece.

All DA members are welcome to join workshops, training, presentations, and social events to help Americans vote and Democrats win in 2020.

The Women’s Caucus will offer activities including our own training and strategy session, a lunch meeting and some “just for fun” stuff for getting to know each other better.

Our Women’s Caucus is always in need of volunteers, and this event is a great opportunity to meet engaged and inspiring American Democrats from across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

As Americans living abroad, we don’t have to watch helplessly from the sidelines as our country falls into chaos and women’s rights are increasingly threatened. Participating in regional meetings or volunteering, even in the smallest way for our caucus, is the best remedy for that feeling of helplessness we all get when we watch the news or wince at the latest tweet! There is a lot we can do from abroad. Come to Athens, and we’ll show you how you can help!

Click here for more information and registration.

ERA Update: Write Postcards to Flip the Virginia Legislature!

Earlier this year, the Equal Rights Amendment passed the Virginia Senate but failed in the VA House by a vote of 50-50. This November, all positions in the VA House and Senate are up for election. DA is partnering with the VAratifyERA organization to elect pro-ERA candidates. Although VAratifyERA is non-partisan, all of the pro-ERA candidates are Democrats.

Here’s how we can help:

We have the postal addresses for 2,500 Virginia voters living in Kirk Cox’s district. He’s the House Chair that has blocked the ERA bill for the last several years, so it would be a pleasure to help replace him with Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman.

Hopefully, some of you can host postcard writing parties or just do some yourself. Ideally, they need to reach the U.S. by Oct. 15, the registration deadline, but at least before the November election.

If you are willing to write and send some, let us know how many and we’ll send you the addresses. Please only take as many as you are committed to send. You can use your own postcards, or if you live in Europe, we can mail you some special VAratifyERA postcards to use. Please send your request to Shari Temple at ERA@democratsabroad.org.

Let’s flip the House in Virginia with pro-ERA candidates. By doing so, we could have the ERA ratified by Valentine’s Day 2020. What a sweet thought!

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Thank you for reading, and as always, stay tuned on our Facebook page for all the latest news.

In solidarity,

Your GWC Team

Ann Hesse, Chair, Global Women's Caucus
Laura Depta, GWC Newsletter Editor-in-Chief

http://www.democratsabroad.org/wc
womenscaucus@democratsabroad.org

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Global Women's Caucus Summer Newsletter

Greetings from your Global Women’s Caucus team! Summer has been flying by as usual, and we’ve had plenty to keep us busy at home and abroad. In this month’s newsletter, see Lights for Liberty photos from around the world, learn about happenings with our caucus in China, and hear what some of the Democratic presidential candidates had to say about women’s issues in their first debate.

Also, please take a moment to fill out our issues survey. We want to know what’s important to you in the 2020 elections.

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Around the World: Lights for Liberty

On July 12, vigils were held across the U.S. and around the world to protest the inhumane conditions facing migrants at the southern U.S. border.

London organizer Melissa Branzburg said, “Standing up as a concerned citizen to host a vigil felt bold, but the children and adults locked up in inhumane conditions in detention in the U.S. demands bold action. My five-year-old spoke at the event, and as a mother to young children, the stories at the border really cut deep. So many people turning out to our vigil in London felt impactful, and I look forward to continuing the fight.”

Toulouse, France

Tokyo, Japan

Madrid, Spain

London, UK

View more photos at the Lights for Liberty Facebook page


DA Happenings: Busy Summer in China

From Elaine Chow, China Communications/IT Director: The Women's Caucus in China has had a busy summer season across Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. We kicked off the summer with a Take an Action Happy Hour in two cities to write our Congress People denouncing the attacks on women's health rights. In June, we revitalized ourselves with a Book Club Takeover discussing Susan Faludi's “Backlash,” a book about how unprecedented advances in women's rights then led to more anti-women initiatives. Now, even as we have the most diverse Congress ever, we are encountering a similar backlash against our health and guarantees to equality.

We look forward to growing our community and continuing to discuss women's issues into the new year!


In the US: Women’s Issues in the First Democratic Debates

The Global Women’s Caucus has formed a candidate research team to gather information about the presidential candidate's positions on women’s issues that we will be sharing later this year.

During the first Democrat Presidential Candidates debate, there were only a few questions on women’s issues. Not all candidates had an opportunity to answer the same questions. Hopefully, we will have a chance to hear the stance of all candidates on women’s issues in the next debates, set for July 30-31 in Detroit.

Here are a few quotes on women’s issues from the first debates:

JULIÁN CASTRO:

“I would do several things, starting with something we should have done a long time ago, which is to pass the Equal Rights Amendment finally in this country.”

BETO O'ROURKE:

“And health care also has to mean that every woman can make her own decisions about her own body and has access to the care that makes that possible.”

JAY INSLEE:

“It should not be an option in the United States of America for any insurance company to deny a woman coverage for their exercise of their right of choice.”

AMY KLOBUCHAR:

“I just want to say, there's three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman's right to choose.”

ELIZABETH WARREN:

“I would make certain that every woman has access to the full range of reproductive health care services, and that includes birth control, it includes abortion, it includes everything for a woman.”

KAMALA HARRIS:

“I want a rape victim to be able to run in the middle of the street and wave down a police officer and report the crime against her.”

JOE BIDEN:

“I supported the ERA from the very beginning.”

BERNIE SANDERS:

“Let me make a promise here. You asked about litmus tests. My litmus test is I will never appoint any—nominate any justice to the Supreme Court unless that justice is 100 percent clear he or she will defend Roe v. Wade.”

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND:

“Women in America—women in America, are on fire. We’ve marched, we’ve organized, we’ve run for office, and we’ve won. But, our rights are under attack like never before by President Trump and the Republicans who want to repeal Roe v. Wade, which is why I went to the front lines in Georgia to fight for them.”

JOHN HICKENLOOPER:

“I’m a small business owner who brought that same scrappy spirit to big Colorado, one of the most progressive states in America. We’ve expanded reproductive health to—to reduce teenage abortion by 64 percent.”


ERA Update: Support H.J.Res 38 and S.J.Res 6

There has been more press coverage of the Equal Rights Amendment – especially with the equal pay and Title IX discussions generated by the U.S. Women’s Soccer team win. It was also mentioned three times in the first presidential debates.

For those in need of a refresher on why we need the ERA, here’s a excellent 15-minute segment from John Oliver. *Note, it is R-rated for language.

Help the cause. Please take 10 minutes to contact your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators to ask them to support the ERA or thank them if they already are. For the House, it is bill H.J.Res 38. Here’s the link with how to contact them and what to say: https://www.democratsabroad.org/era_house. For the Senate, it is bill S.J.Res 6. Here’s the link with how to contact them and what to say: https://www.democratsabroad.org/era_senate

If you have ideas or would like to help DA with the ERA ratification, please contact us at era@democratsabroad.org.


Recap: Webinar on the Criminalization of Women’s Bodies with Jennifer Merchant

Jennifer Merchant, Ph.D., spoke for the Global Women’s Caucus in Paris on June 13 on the subject of the Criminalization of Women’s Bodies, following the recent abortion bans or restrictions in the U.S. The evening was streamed live on Zoom, and over 100 people listened and watched in real-time.

No one in the audience was disappointed with Dr. Merchant’s complete and informative story of historical landmarks that got us to where we are today. Most striking was her analysis of trends in abortions (in 2014, the U.S. abortion rate reached a historic low) and the segment of the population most affected by the restrictions.

Click here for a full recap of Dr. Merchant’s talk.


Get Involved: We Want to Hear Your Story!

Though we are proud of how far women have come in the U.S., there are still many miles to go. To shed light on the progress still needed, we are launching the “State of the American Woman” campaign. As part of this initiative, we hope to highlight stories of American women facing inequality in their daily lives.

If you are interested in learning more or participating, please contact gwc_comms@democratsabroad.org.


Save the Date: DA Meetings

October 11-13: DA EMEA annual regional meeting in Athens, Greece. All DA members are welcome!

October 25-26: Americas Regional Workshop on Voting from Abroad in Costa Rica. All DA members welcome!


Thank you for reading, and as always, stay tuned on our Facebook page for all the latest news.

In solidarity,

Your GWC Team

http://www.democratsabroad.org/wc

Womenscaucus@democratsabroad.org

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Recap: June 13 Reproductive Rights Webinar with Jennifer Merchant, Ph.D

Recap by Connie Borde

Jennifer Merchant, Ph.D*. in Political Sciences from the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, and Professor of Anglo-American legal and political institutions at the Université de Paris II (Panthéon-Assas), spoke for the Global Women’s Caucus in Paris on June 13 on the subject of the Criminalization of Women’s Bodies, following the recent abortion bans or restrictios in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio.

The evening was streamed live on Zoom, and over 100 persons listened and watched in real time.

No one in the audience was disappointed with Dr. Merchant’s complete and informative story of historical landmarks that got us to where we are today. Most striking was her analysis of trends in abortions (in 2014, the U.S. abortion rate reached a historic low) and the segment of the population most affected by the restrictions. Because of lack of access to health insurance and health care, abortion is increasingly concentrated among poor women, and abortion rates continue to vary by race and ethnicity.

For Dr. Merchant, the bottom line and philosophical underpinnings of this movement falls under the greatly discussed history of patriarchy and equal rights for women.

The question about reversing Roe v Wade was naturally a key point. If Roe fell, abortion rights would be lost in some states and remain secure in others.

If Roe v Wade is overturned:
  • 22 states could ban abortion outright.
  • In 8 states (including the District of Columbia), the right to abortion is at risk of loss.
  • In 21 states, the right to abortion appears to be more or less secure.

To watch the recording of Jennifer Merchant’s talk and hear her opinions about where we go from here, you can click here

*Jennifer Merchant sits on the Ethics Committee of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (FAB) Association as well as FAB Country Representative. She is a leading researcher in bioethical issues of comparative public policy with expertise in North American and European policy, and politics and regulation of medical technologies involving human reproduction. She started off her research on comparative abortion politics, and then became an expert in comparative law and politics on embryo research and assisted reproductive technology. 
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Global Women's Caucus June Newsletter

Happy Pride Month GWC members! June has ushered in summer and, with it, our annual month to celebrate LGBTQ communities across the U.S. and the world. As we stock up on bright and colorful Pride merch, we also reflect on an eventful month of May. Read on for more on what the GWC has been up to, developments with abortion access in the U.S. and new ways to get involved.

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DA Happenings: GWC goes to Washington!

Democrats Abroad held its 2019 Annual General Meeting in Washington D.C. from May 17-21. DA leaders from every continent joined together for a fast-paced, densely packed series of meetings, discussions, presentations, and events topped off by two days of meetings with our representatives on Capitol Hill.

Our own GWC members were also extremely productive and exhausted but thoroughly satisfied by the end of the week! GWC Chair Ann Hesse highlighted achievements from the past year and outlined our strategy to get more women elected in 2020. ERA team leader Shari Temple presented on plans to make 2020 the year we finally pass the ERA, and GWC leaders were on hand for informal one-on-one chats with newly minted leaders. Forty GWC leaders from around the world also convened at a planning session at the elegant Cosmos Club in D.C., where we laid out priorities for the coming year and formed two new important task forces: a Candidate Research Team and a Reproductive Rights Team.

Just when we thought we were finished for the week, we were called into action again on our last day in D.C.! Our caucus joined with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Emily’s List and other groups on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building for an impromptu protest action against the harsh new abortion laws passed in several states. Prominent women’s rights activists were joined by members of Congress and Democratic presidential candidates, calling for an end to the abortion bans. Media outlets from around the world captured the scene and were even able to interview a few of our GWC leaders.

A few observations from participants:

“It was energizing to be in a room with so many smart women who are passionate about protecting women’s rights and advancing the cause of equality. This is a critical time in our country, and I came away with a shot of hope that Democrats, and particularly women Democrats, will never give up the fight.” - Joan Stack, DA Panama

"As always, the global meeting was fun, thought-provoking, frustrating at times, tiring, but valuable. It is always good to see people in person – particularly ones that you work with but have never met. And I was particularly pleased that by the end of the meeting, everyone was wearing an “ERA Yes” button." - Shari Temple, Global IT Team Chair; GWC Steering Team; ERA Project Coordinator

“What thrills me most is the synergy between our long-time leaders, many of whom are women’s rights activism veterans since the 70s, and young, talented new members just bubbling with energy and ‘can do’ optimism. Observing a few of these conversations; women exchanging ideas and email addresses over lunch-boxes and coffee breaks, warmed my heart and makes me feel excited about the future” - Ann Hesse, chair, DA Global Women’s Caucus

"It was outstanding to meet so many committed Democrats Abroad activists working to promote key policy issues and plan to elect Democrats across the country! And many thanks to Julia Bryan and her outstanding team for organizing the three days, the live/video talks from Presidential candidates, impressive committee/caucus presentations and fascinating briefings from DNC executives. With all this GREAT PLANNING, DEMS WILL WIN IN 2020!!!" - Carol Moore

“I love women movers and shakers. I love Democrat women, and I especially love our DA Global Women’s Caucus. Our DA Global meeting was made all the more special by our intense discussions at our Sunday evening workshop at the Cosmos Club in DC. Join us and dig into the issues and see what we can do to CHANGE the picture of women's’ rights in the USA.” - Salli Swartz


In the US: Assault on Abortion

On Thursday, June 13th, from 6:45 pm to 8:45 pm CEST, the Global Women's Caucus will host an essential webinar with Dr. Jennifer Merchant. She will discuss the long-feared upcoming challenge to Roe v. Wade limiting choice for women and a likely constitutional crisis concerning women’s rights. Don't miss this important webinar, RSVP today.

The assault on reproductive rights in the U.S. continues, as more states pass laws restricting abortion access with the explicit goal of challenging Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

In May, Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. It outlaws almost all abortions and does not include exemptions for rape or incest. Further, the law states that doctors who perform abortions could be charged with a felony and face up to 99 years in prison.

Several other states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia passed “heartbeat bills,” banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, and before many women realize they are pregnant.

These laws are antiquated and dangerous, and if enacted, will endanger women’s health while laying waste to reproductive rights. And yet, there is a reason to be hopeful. States, including Nevada and Illinois, have recently passed legislation to protect access to abortion.

Want to help? Check out this summary of ways to volunteer, organize, and donate to local organizations working to protect women’s access to abortion.


ERA Update: Urge Congress to Remove Deadline

As we celebrate the accomplishment that was the passage of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago, we look forward to the passage of the ERA. However, women will NOT have equal rights in the U.S. Constitution this year as the deadlines for the legislatures in all 13 unratified states has passed.

What can still happen in 2019 is for Congress to explicitly remove the deadline that was in the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment preamble – clearly the path for the ratification without that legal issue. You can help – see https://www.democratsabroad.org/era_campaigns.

We are also looking at other ways that DA can help influence and educate the public on the need for women in the USA to have equal rights. If you have ideas or would like to help, please contact us at era@democratsabroad.org.

Watch Desi Lydic womansplain the Equal Rights Amendment on the Daily Show.

Get Involved: We Want to Hear Your Story!

As we march toward the 2020 election, we at the Global Women’s Caucus want to hear from you!

Though we are proud of how far women have come in the U.S., there are still many miles to go. To shed light on the progress still needed, we are launching the “State of the American Woman” campaign. As part of this initiative, we hope to highlight stories of American women facing inequality in their daily lives.

If you are interested in learning more or participating, please contact gwc_comms@democratsabroad.org.


Get Involved: Survey and Volunteer Opportunity!

Please take our issues survey. It's important for us to know what is important to you in 2020 elections.

Are you interested in delving into the presidential candidates’ stance on women's issues? We're putting together a candidate research team, and if you’re interested in getting involved, we would love to hear from you at womenscaucus@democratsabroad.org.

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Thank you for reading, and as always, stay tuned on our Facebook page for all the latest news.


In solidarity,
Your GWC Team
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