February 2017 Chapter Meeting Minutes

It was amazing that so many people came to the meeting on Tuesday. Our apologies to the folks who couldn’t get into the room, we’ll look into alternative locations for such well-attended meetings. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

To help keep you in the loop, we’ve made an effort to get the minutes/notes from Tuesday’s meeting (Feb 7, 2017) out as quickly. You’ll find them below.

In particular, if you’re interested in

  • Joining the Berlin board, contact Diego Rivas (dag-berlin@democratsabroad.org)
  • Running for Germany ExCom, contact Alan Benson (Alan.Benson@web.de)
  • Hosting a fellow Democrats Abroad Germany member during the Annual General Meeting: sign up here
  • Volunteering at the Annual General Meeting: sign up here
  • Organizing for International Women’s Day: sign up here
  • Receiving more frequent political action email updates: sign up here

Our next event is February Political Pub night on Wednesday, Feb 15th at Buffalo Grill Restaurant: RSVP & more details here

Minutes – 7 February 2017

Democrats Abroad Berlin Chapter Monthly Meeting

Welcome by Chapter Chair Diego Rivas

Announcement for Chapter Board Elections

  • At the next monthly meeting, Tuesday, March 7th, elections will be held
  • Positions available
    • Vice Chair
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • GOTV (Get out to vote) Coordinator
    • Events Coordinator
    • Volunteer Coordinator
    • Social Media Coordinator
  • The members of the board will meet 2 weeks prior to the monthly meetings
  • Each member will have one vote in the decision making process
  • There was discussion about John having a board position as an IT Coordinator
  • Alan Benson questioned the rule about gender equality in the chair and vice positions. Diego stated that he supports a female vice chair candidate

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

  • When?
    • Friday, March 31st – Sunday, April 2nd in Berlin
  • What?
    • Meeting for all members and chapters of DA in Germany
  • Primary Responsibilities of the Berlin Chapter
  • Venues
    • We have the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy nearly confirmed for Saturday.
    • We are still looking for venues for Friday afternoon and evening
    • And ExCom brunch event on Sunday.
  • Elections for National Executive Committee held at AGM
    • At the AGM, elections for the National Executive Committee will be held.
    • Alan Benson spoke about which positions would be available. If you want to run, please contact Alan: Alan.Benson@web.de
    • Members of DA should have received an email yesterday about the upcoming elections and the available positions
    • Deadline to submit application/statement to run for the National Committee is March 12th.
    • Candidate Statements will be posted three weeks prior to the AGM.

What’s next?

  • Discussion about how to contact your representative
    • 5calls.org
    • Instead of contacting them via their D.C. office, find the contact information for their local offices – tend to have better chances of getting through
    • Powen suggested putting multiple phone numbers for your congress people in your phone. For example, their DC offices as well as home state offices
    • Also, possible to send faxes via online tools
    • Bernie Sanders says that online petitions can be influential
    • Using social media: tweeting at members of congress, Facebook, etc.
    • For those that are not old enough to vote, it was still suggested that they should contact their representatives since they will be future voters
  • International Women’s Day (March 8th)
    • Discussion of a women’s strike on this day. Diego encouraged the chapter to read this article in The Guardian making a call for a women’s strike.
    • Suggestion was made to incorporate a more positive theme, such as “Love Trumps Hate” and actually do some sort of action that day
      • For example: volunteer at a refugee shelter for women
      • From a branding perspective, creating an event we can share around the world
      • Alternatives for women who can’t strike: lunchtime activism, buy nothing that day, etc.
      • Possible support to help women in the US strike
      • Encourage women in your life to strike that day; conversations
    • Could also combine a volunteer action with a march
    • Sign-up sheet was passed around for those interested in helping to organize the event. Sign up here for more info: www.volunteersignup.org/KHQPK
  • Suggestions and comments from the larger, general discussion about what’s next
    • During the meeting, a sheet was passed around to collect ideas/comments/questions that people had for “What’s next”
    • Big question was how to stay engaged and how to get more people engaged
      • Several younger members wanted to know how they can be more involved and how they can convince their friends and peers that it’s important to be more active and involved
    • How can we support other groups, such as the ACLU
      • One member will be hosting an art auction with proceeds going to the ACLU
    • Question about how to connect with the other side and how to sift through all the misinformation that’s out there
    • Max Jacobson is working to organize more of a dialogue between conservatives and liberals. If you want to get involved, you can contact Max at maxjacobson90@gmail.com
      • Max spoke about being a republican up until August 2016
    • It was suggested to try to see if there is a way to get more information out there about the American perspective for people in Germany to understand and also to get the German perspective out there for Americans to understand (especially the historical experiences)
    • Cultural activities, like a concert featuring American musicians, or the creation of a reading group
    • The idea to try and stop Trump from coming to Berlin was mentioned
    • Boycotts. The Grab Your Wallet campaign was suggested.
    • Another strike was mentioned that is possibly happening on February 17th
    • Powen spoke about alternative forms of activism such as coffee & cafe fundraiser, small groups getting together to call members of congress, he also mentioned this upcoming art auction put together by a DA member. Proceeds will support the ACLU
    • Miguel brought up the possibility of DA members participating in Science March Berlin
    • Several teenage members of DA asked about involvement. It was suggested that Young Dems consider creating a board as well to focus on youth activism.
  • 50 State Captains
    • Diego shared his aspirations to start a 50 State Captain project within the Berlin Chapter. A member can sign up to represent their state and report at monthly meetings about political happenings in your state. Please contact Diego for more information.
  • Action! Sign-up sheet
    • A email list to keep you up-to-date with any political events happening in Berlin, could receive up to 2-3 emails a week. Sign up here: www.volunteersignup.org/BMDR7

Storage?

  • Diego spoke about the chapter’s need to find storage space for eight or so boxes containing relics such as Kerry/Edwards materials.

DNC Chair Elections

  • Michael Lee spoke about the Berlin Chapter’s success of getting a resolution passed for DAG (Democrats Abroad Germany) to support the candidacy of Keith Ellison for DNC Chair. This resolution will encourage our DNC voting members (DA has four votes) to support Keith. The election will take place on February 24th. You can learn more here.

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