The Democrats Abroad EMEA caucus in Brussels this past weekend was exhausting and exhilarating. As an Obama delegate candidate and elector (I could vote for the delegates) it was an experience I will never forget.

Friday evening started with drinks with the first 14 registrants and the Mayor of Brussels followed by a private tour of the Hotel de Ville.

A beer reception at the historic brewer’s guild building followed for a lively 2 hours with over 100 American expatriates and members of Democrats Abroad EMEA.

Saturday we voted for 4 Obama delegates to go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. We ended the day without having decided on delegates with the task of having a final 3rd ballot on Sunday morning.

Now, to make a long story short here is why it is better to give than receive. On Sunday we are stunned to learn that a mistake in the vote calculations caused the result to be under reported by 50% (for example I received 26.2% instead of the 13.1% that was announced). So after an initial pool of 30 or so female candidates and after 2 rounds of voting I was #4 of 6 female candidates, along with a sister from Chicago named Monica French Stewart who lives in South Africa as #3.

The result for me was that I had made it to the 3rd ballot after all (a delegate candidate needs 15% of the vote to move on to the next round of voting).
The small countries had formed a coalition and we were pushing for Monica to represent Africa, David, an Arab American, to represent Lebanon and Bob, a white gay male in the Netherlands to represent LBGT interests. We made deals for support after the first ballot.

A vote was taken to go back to round 2 and revote. Here’s where I give. When the 6 remaining women candidates were bought to the front and asked if they wanted to stay on the ballot, I withdrew from the race and endorsed Monica. It was more important to me that a sister go rather then risk splitting the vote. That sister didn’t have to be me, and I’m proud that Monica will go and represent the interests of African American democrats in Africa.

I was stunned and what happened next. I got a standing ovation from everyone in the room! That’s a personal first. So many people came up to me and hugged me, and shook my hand and thanked me for showing leadership, and being gracious and selfless. I was told that I was the first winner up there. I was even encouraged to run for executive office of Dems Abroad. When the vote was calculated Monica received over 72% of the vote (50% is needed to win).

The Obama delegates representing Democrats Abroad EMEA are a diverse group to which I belong. Our coalition made a deal to support a delegate candidate with Native American heritage in exchange for her large country’s support of our 3 candidates.

In the 48 hours that I was a delegate candidate I learned that it is better to give than to receive.

You may also like...


  1. Christina Springer

    What a fantastic story. I find it interesting that so often it is the people who don’t have an overwhelming desire to lead who make the best leaders.

  2. Adrianne,

    this story of your strong character, ethics and leadership doesn’t surprise me one bit!


  3. Black Women in Europe

    Thanks Christina! And Trina I wish you were there! We needed your leadership too.

  4. Black Women in Europe

    NOTE: I inadvertently deleted this comment:

    mp1 v.8.0 has left a new comment on your post “From Sweden to Brussels to Denver?”:

    That’s the business!! I wish that I could be in that position. From the first paragrap, I assumed you needed us to vote or do something else to help get you there. Good luck with the persuasion.

  5. Black Women in Europe

    mp1: only electors certified at the caucus could vote. If you live overseas you can join Democrats Abroad!

  6. Francis L. Holland Blog

    I’m really proud of you, Adrianne. I sounds like you learned a lot, met a lot of good people, and there’s a spiritual principle involved, too. Some victories depend upon us stepping forward, while other victories depend upon us stepping back.

  7. Adrianne, thanks for the insight, what a marvalous expereince you have as an expat. You are providing us an example of what education, combined with hard work determination and experience can provide.And to top it off, you have a great appearence.Well done

  8. Maggie Curran

    Congratulations, Adrianne! Great story with a great moral.

  9. Black Women in Europe

    Thanks Francis. And anon thanks too! Maggie, thanks for your pre-caucus input.

  10. Remarkable story! We know your gracious and giving nature as a member of the afrosphere, in general, and The AfroSpear, in particular. I’m not surprised by your action. I am pleased to learn of the response from the audience.

    You make us all proud l’il sista!

    peace, Villager

  11. Black Women in Europe

    Thanks Villager, you know I appreciate your support way over here.

  12. Adrianne, I left my comment recently and it shows as annonymous.I enjoyed the post and urge you to see my comments under annonymous

  13. Eddie G. Griffin

    Such a great story. Sorry, I will not see you in Denver. But we will make sure others will know about you and Monica. Thank you much for your courage.

  14. Francis L. Holland Blog

    Adrianne, if you’re sick and tired of hearing what Hillary and Bill Clinton think about Black people and what we can accomplish, please help us engage in some push-back by signing this online petition to the DNC and the super-delegates:

    “The signatories to this statement urge that Senator Hillary Clinton must concede defeat in her quest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and must support the Democratic ticket. “

    Thanks for your collaboration with the Afrosphere Action Coalition.

  15. Black Women in Europe

    I was looking forward to seeing you there dear Eddie, but knowing that you and Monica will be there is a comfort.

    Thanks for posting the petition Francis.

  16. Thanks for sharing this story. Between Barack Obama’s fantastic speech and this post, it’s truly been an inspirational day!

  17. Black Women in Europe

    You’re welcome DP. I agree with you! Let’s do what we must to stay inspired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.