Chair’s corner August 2020

We are thrilled to share that Katherine Huang has been elected our new co-chair! Read her first chair’s corner now:

I am thrilled to have been elected as the new co-chair of the Democrats Abroad UK Women’s Caucus to help in harnessing the power of this amazing group of women to bring Americans around the world together in driving meaningful and progressive change on issues that are important to us.

I’ve been asked to share a few thoughts on critical issues which the Women’s Caucus can focus on addressing in the coming months. Some of these issues were touched on in my candidacy statement, but the leadership team agreed it is worth reiterating their importance here.

1.     Free and Fair Elections: There is an urgency in all of us mobilizing to ensure our voices are heard this November. With the current administration filing lawsuits nationwide to block absentee ballots without secrecy envelopes and to block the use of mail dropboxes, and with more than 300,000 American immigrants impacted by the backlog at the State Department delaying their citizenship applications and therefore their right to vote this November, it has never been more important for us to ensure our representatives and state governors know that we are here and we need them to act now to ensure our rights can be protected despite the pandemic.

2.          Reducing barriers to education: I was part of the first generation of my family to be born in the United States. My parents’ commitment to my education and development has led to a decade-long focus on giving back through youth programs and women’s education organizations, and work over the past two years on advocacy to raise awareness of menstrual poverty, which prevents 1 out of 5 high school girls in the U.S. from going to school on their period because they cannot afford menstrual products – an economic situation which has worsened due to the hardship imposed by the pandemic.

3.          Focus on inclusion: The changing political climate in both the US and the UK over the past five years have led to increased instances of xenophobia, particularly in the wake of growing nativism and suspicion which has worsened in the post-COVID-19 world. Despite these experiences, growing up in Connecticut and attending an elite liberal arts college meant that I have also been afforded an immense amount of privilege which, like many others within the community, I have only begun to acknowledge in recent years. Like many in this group, it has been deeply upsetting to consider the impact of systemic racism and police brutality. As a woman of color it has been an unsettling experience of feeling subjected to some aspects of that racism and simultaneously complicit. While it is okay for us to be outraged, it is important for us to recognize moments like this when we should be listening, reflecting on the role we have played, and learning.

4.          Global engagement: Lastly, we are stronger when America is part of the global community, when it is strengthening its alliances and when it is managing its relationships with other nations through strategic diplomacy in order to address common issues – both climate change and the global health crisis being the two most important. Reducing the number of lives lost to this pandemic around the world and slowing the impacts to this planet and to humanity from climate change need to be put first on the global agenda. We are living in a world of daily increased conflict, both globally and domestically. In the same way that we are only able to learn and grow in this moment of racial inequity by listening and reflecting, we will be better off if we focus globally on engaging in dialogue with other nations and working together to address these issues rather than retreating from our leadership role as Americans or hoarding resources for ourselves.

I look forward to meeting with all of you in the coming months to discuss these issues and to learn about other issues that are important to all of you. Thank you for the opportunity to serve!

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