Black Americans are active in all walks of life, all over the world, including here in the UK. We serve our country overseas, we are corporate and NGO leaders and employees, we are academics, government representatives, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, and families. African American expats have a long and well-established footprint of leadership and excellence. We make invaluable contributions to Democrats Abroad UK, Democrats Abroad, the Democratic Party, and society at large.
Our humanity matters, our lives matter, our votes matter.
~ Chair, Adrienne Johnson ~
We who believe in freedom cannot rest
Work in concert with and support the efforts of Democrats Abroad’s Global Black Caucus, the DAUK- and DA Executive Committees to:
EDUCATE and advocate for legislation and programs that address the unique issues of African Americans and the community of Black citizens living abroad and back at home
COLLABORATE with DAUK caucuses and committees to highlight points where our respective issues intersect with other communities and interest groups
MOTIVATE DAUK members to increase awareness by facilitating discussion about the intersection of long-standing racial justice issues. Highlight contributions of Black Americans to the United States, the Democratic Party, and the importance of the Black vote to winning seats at local, state, and federal level
ORGANIZE events that reflect and support our goals, increase membership and inspire Black Americans to volunteer with DAUK.
And finally – we aim to turn out the VOTE!
NEWS & EVENTS
Statement: Black History Month 2021
Black history is American history. We have the vision and dedication of Carter G. Woodson to thank for the annual U.S. celebration of Black History. It began in 1926 as Black History Week. Fifty years later, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History – ASALH – carries founder Woodson’s legacy forward by choosing a theme to highlight each year. This year, the focus is on The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.
We honor the strength and resilience of our ancestors, who made great contributions while sacrificing so much for our country. Those who, despite systemically imposed discrimination, have repeatedly demonstrated an understanding of inclusion, family, community, and country, We celebrate activists who continue this essential work.
Taking an integrated approach across all government agencies, the Biden administration seeks to acknowledge and address past harm done to Black families, placing racial justice and equity at the center of its domestic policy agenda. This demonstrates the administration’s commitment to the unifying principle of creating an even playing field for all Americans. Of lifting the entire nation’s fortunes by passing legislation that places resources where they are most needed. This starts with securing the well-being of families.
Amanda Gorman inspired us with her visionary poem, The Hill We Climb. “We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.”
We can best honor those who came before us, ourselves, and our children by doing all we can to help rid the nation of the disease of racism. There is no other way to build a nation that allows our families to take a full and equitable part in American society. We must face the past to build a better future. Let us embrace the hope expressed by Amanda Gorman and accept the challenge voiced by the newly-elected DNC Chair Jamie Harrison, and DNC Black Caucus Chair Virgie Rollins. ” As we celebrate Black History Month, let us also rededicate ourselves to the cause of justice and equality for all.” You can read the full statement here.
No Excuses. Vote.
We’re screening John Lewis: Good Trouble on the 29th of October at 6:30. Black Americans have fought and died for the right to exercise our vote. Our goal has been and continues to be about improving the quality of our lives. claiming our full agency as American citizens, to have access to quality education, fair protection under the law, to no longer be subject to discriminatory or predatory banking practices, to have the choice to live in a safe environment, live wherever we want, to accumulate wealth, and to have our contributions fully recognized. In doing so, we’ve understood that our efforts ultimately improve life for all Americans. The vote is sacred. It is a necessary tool used in the fight for social justice. This commitment has been instilled in so many of our families, including DAUK member Carol Madison Graham’s family. There’s no excuse not to vote. Carol explains, “My mother has been involved in politics all my life including as an elected official. I stood at the polls with campaign material every Election Day from primary school adding other tasks as I got older. Working on democratic campaigns is just what our family did. At the time the local party was happy to support black men but not a woman so when they informed her (as an incumbent) that a man had been selected for the Democratic ticket my mother ran against him as an independent and won. Her mantra was ’no permanent allies, no permanent adversaries – just permanent goals.’”
Read here about the 300-mile journey taken recently by Mildred Madison, Carol’s 94-year-old mother, to cast her ballot. Mrs. Madison has advice for us about voting. She says, “It’s not just for the president but start voting locally, statewide, county wide and also on the federal level. They all count because the power really starts right there in your community.” Wise words. Vice President Biden and Oprah were inspired by Ms. Mildred too!
Have you voted? It’s crunch time and we must turn out the vote like never before! On Thursday night, the current occupant of the White House claimed he was the best president Black Americans have ever had, after Abraham Lincoln. He clearly isn’t listening to us. We know there couldn’t be anything farther from the truth. That’s why we must make it absolutely clear that Black Americans do not accept or tolerate harm being done to our community. Black women are at the forefront of driving voters to the polls. We represent a critical voting bloc. We change the world when we VOTE! And we certainly don’t take kindly to being called names.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee of the 13th District of California, champion of a progressive agenda and a key leader in the Democratic Party has a message for overseas voters. She emphasizes what is at stake in this election, especially for communities of color. The deadline to register to vote in California, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, is on the 19th of October. Act now! We’re voting to save the soul of the nation.
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) recorded this message for Democrats Abroad and the Black Caucus. A former American expat herself, she wants us to ensure our voices are heard. Let’s take her advice and get to work. VOTE! Our lives depend on it.
Getting out the vote
November is now for overseas voters and Black Caucus members have been assisting with DAUK’s get out the vote efforts in the lead up to the General Election. Thanks to all who lent their artistic skills to our postcarding. All said it was a good way to calm the nerves during this time of heightened anticipation while waiting for Election Day. Others found it to be a family-friendly activity that reinforced civic-mindedness that we all can embrace. We chose Florida and hope overseas absentee ballots will make the difference in winning back the White House.
Joe Biden made a historic, bold and visionary move with this VP pick. A trailblazer, Sen. Harris brings a wealth of professional and lived experience to the ticket. In so many ways, her life is representative of the experiences of Black and brown women across the nation. HBCU grads and members of Divine 9 historically Black Greek letter organizations alike know how well she’s been prepared for this moment.
She’s ready. We’ve got to be too. Let’s get behind this ticket. Our eyes are on the prize. Let’s get this done!
Statement on the Passing of Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian
On the 19th of July 2020, we lost two giant, American civil rights leaders.
We are profoundly grateful for the life’s work of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Rev. C.T. Vivian. Though saddened by their passing, we are thankful for the sacrifices made and the gifts they have given to so many Americans. Bother were advocates of non-violence and worked alongside Martin Luther King for the cause of racial justice and voting rights, risking their lives so that we can all someday be free.
We’re still working on that. The torch has been passed. It’s up to us to ensure their vision, our vision for a just and equitable America is realized. Make sure you and everyone in your networks VOTE. When you witness or become aware of injustice, speak up.
“Do what you can do and do it well. But always ask your question: Is it serving the people?”
– Rev. C.T. Vivian –
“Our minds, souls, and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all the people.”
– Rep. John Lewis –
Rest well beloved warriors. Job well done.
Black History Month Discussion
The Hill We Climb – What the Future Holds
The world watched transfixed by the awe-inspiring poet Amanda Gorman, as she recited the groundbreaking poem, The Hill We Climb on Inauguration Day.
Join the DAUK Black Caucus on Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 pm for a Black History Month celebration as we discuss this powerful call to action, hope, and unity and what “forging a union with purpose” means for Black Americans and for the future of the country. This is a Zoom meeting. Everyone is welcome. Please RSVP via Eventbrite to receive joining details.
DAUK Film Night – John Lewis: Good Trouble – In these troubling times, the passing of our beloved torchbearer, the brave and faithful warrior Congressman John Lewis has left us feeling reflective and inspired by his legacy of service. Who will fill the void he leaves behind? What action will it take beyond Election Day to bring his project to fruition? Who among us will make an ongoing commitment to making “good trouble”?
The Black Caucus and Film Committee invite DAUK members to an exclusive screening of John Lewis: Good Trouble, a timely and illuminating portrait of this Civil Rights icon with essential messages about the power of voting. This powerful documentary draws upon archival footage going back many decades to recall the pivotal events in a lifetime of activism, alongside recent interviews with John Lewis, his family and many of his colleagues. Join us afterwards for a separate Q and A and discussion on Zoom. Please note: due to license restrictions, access to the film is only available to those in the UK at the time of the screening. Tickets are free but donations to cover costs are appreciated. Please RSVP https://dauk-film-good-trouble.eventbrite.co.uk
DAUK Black Caucus Post-Convention Speakeasy – The contrast between Democrat’s and Republican’s vision for the future of America could not have been presented in more stark terms over the last few weeks. We invite you to join us for a post-conventions debrief on September 16th, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. All members are welcome! RSVP today –
We’ll discuss your impressions and reactions to the respective conventions, discuss current events that particularly impact Black Americans, yet all Americans, and strategize about how to get the Biden-Harris ticket over the required 270 Electoral College votes. Let’s talk!
DAUK Black Caucus Pre-Convention Speakeasy – Who could have known that Joe Biden would pick Kamala Harris to be his running mate on the eve of our Pre-Convention Speakeasy? That topic alone provided fertile ground for discussion. Even if you weren’t able to join us, we invite you to reflect on the topics discussed.
Election Day is 81 days away. The prize is in sight and achievable with 270 Electoral College votes. As constituents, we must do everything possible to send a resounding mandate for change to our local and federal representatives back home. John Lewis challenged us to keep finding a means of getting in the way, keep your eyes on the prize and make good trouble. It is now OUR time to carry the torch he’s passed on.
With that in mind, Question 1 to attendees was what they think we as individuals have to do to further Rep. Lewis’ work and legacy of striving for racial and social justice? What concrete personal action will it take to move the country forward?
Question 2 dealt with the issue of how we choose our elected officials. We often tend to focus on the personalities of candidates as opposed to policy. With that in mind, what policy issues are you passionate about and think should be prioritized in this campaign and beyond? What will it take to elect and sustain a Congress that reflects our concerns and works in our interests?
Question 3 – When we speak of a diverse slate of candidates, what comes to mind? What does the term diverse mean to you? Is it race-, gender, class, or diversity of thought, based on lived experience that guides your decision-making? What do those qualities bring to the political landscape? For example, what are your thoughts about the recent wins by progressive women of color in the primaries? And finally, id you have a preference for Biden’s VP pick? What do you think Kamala Harris brings to the ticket?
Thanks for participating in the conversation. Let’s keep lines of communication like this open. Talk with friends and family. And finally, do all you can to engage and mobilize people in your networks so they are ready to VOTE! Request your absentee ballot now.
The Democratic National Convention runs from Monday, the 17th through to the 20th of August. All are welcome! Sign up to participate.
Juneteenth Discussion: Racism is a Public Health Risk. Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19th and also known as Freedom Day, is the day African Americans commemorate emancipation from slavery in the U.S. Many Americans have never, or only recently, heard of Juneteenth. We didn’t learn about it in school. Similarly, many have been unaware of the threat of aggression and violence that Black Americans face on a day-to-day basis. George Floyd’s death has raised awareness about racial injustice and led activists around the world to hit the streets in protest.
We presented a Juneteenth panel discussion that looked at our understanding of freedom in the context of the history of policing, riots, and looting in America, the impact this has had on Black communities. We then considered the strategies for police reform that are now on the table, discussed racism as a health risk, the psychological impact of trauma, and ended with guided meditation and self-care advice. Featured speakers were: Anne Pollock, King’s College Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, and Maile O’Hara B.A.S., M.Ed, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
Juneteenth – https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/historical-legacy-juneteenth
On Juneteenth and Race in America – http://www.washingtonpost.com/washington-post-live-race-in-america-lonnie-bunch-juneteenth/
Tulsa Massacre – https://cbsn.ws/37GSNgD
Policing and Racism – Dr. Keisha Blain (NPR interview): http://www.npr.org/2020/06/13/876628302/the-history-of-policing-and-race-in-the-u-s-are-deeply-intertwined
LBJ’s War on Crime – https://time.com/3746059/war-on-crime-history/
Militarization – http://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/police-militarization-fails-to-protect-officers-and-targets-black-communities-study-finds
Defunding the Police (Face the Nation, June 2020) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCXllam7HNQ
Kamala Harris on police reform – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OWiRuJgtVE
Ruha Benjamin – https://aas.princeton.edu/news/black-skin-white-masks-racism-vulnerability-refuting-black-pathology
Trauma – https://onbeing.org/programs/resmaa-menakem-notice-the-rage-notice-the-silence/
Allies – http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/06/how-white-women-can-be-better-black-lives-matter-allies
White Fragility – http://www.npr.org/2020/06/17/879136931/interrupt-the-systems-robin-diangelo-on-white-fragility-and-anti-racism