By Elaine Halleck
A week before their scheduled annual meeting June 23, board members in a newly formed Democratic group in Guadalajara reflected on their achievements and setbacks in the past year.
“Yes, our big problem is we need to motivate more volunteers,” said Michaele Rivera, an expat resident of Guadalajara for 35 years. “Our eight board members are stretched way too thin.
“But three of us just attended a national Democrats Abroad meeting in Puebla, and when I compared us to the older chapters, I saw that we have the same challenges and we’re not doing so bad.”
“Nothing happens overnight,” agreed Jude Wallesen, who helped get the chapter off the ground by volunteering to manage the database in 2015, when Ajijic Democrats Abroad activists Larry Pihl and Dee Dee Camhi were trying to seed the new Guadalajara chapter.
“It seems slow to us who are closely involved,” Wallesen added. “But what we’ve accomplished in our first year is amazing. We’ve had consistent board and membership meetings, we’re action oriented, we come away from our board meetings with a to-do list.
“What I really notice is the increase in our membership numbers since last year. We have 33 percent more people on the rolls than we did a year ago, a lot of them from outreach we organized at the American School and at a pilgrimage in Atenguillo. That’s very encouraging.
“We’re a diverse group,” she added. “Left to centrist, like Democrats in general.”