Year In Review
2020: THE ACTION IS IN THE REACTION
WE KEPT GOING.
When we started 2020, we were on track with a plan to organize, train more leaders, and build power. Then the pandemic came and we had to adapt.
Throughout 2020, we have continued our essential work -- being in relationship and building community power -- despite the barriers that COVID poses. We have adapted to holding meetings, leadership training, and relational meetings on Zoom. We have been able to gather with other IAF organizations from the Northwest, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for trainings and action assemblies! We had over 100 people attend our leadership trainings from all over King and Pierce counties. We held a virtual assembly in August with over 80 people coming together to share stories, welcome new members, and take action on the issues we care about. People are sharing and making themselves vulnerable and open in ways that didn’t seem possible. We have strengthened relationships, built new ones, and grown as an organization.
So though our work has changed, we continue to meet the challenges.
OUR WORK DIDN'T STOP, IT BECAME MORE FOCUSED.
HOUSING TEAM: This issue was top of mind before this crisis and the pandemic has made this work all the more urgent. Recently, the Housing team has been focused on ensuring the successful implementation of the Health through Housing initiative that was passed by the King County Council earlier this year. It is to provide permanent housing and wraparound services to an estimated 2000 people who are unhoused in King County. This project is launching in 2021 and Sound Alliance leaders will be at the table every step of the way. Also, in response to the combined stressors of the economic downturn and the ongoing pandemic, the Sound Alliance has been outspoken supporters of the temporary eviction moratorium, and advocates for the extension of the moratorium through March 31st, 2021, writing to Governor Inslee recently to urge him to extend the moratorium.
THE SOCIAL CONNECTION PROJECT: Sound Alliance leaders know the importance of relations and the power of being connected and learning each other's stories. As soon as the lockdowns began, the idea of finding ways to connect with people in isolation took shape. With our sister organization in Portland, Metropolitan Alliance for the Common Good (MACG), we launched the Social Connection Project. Our intent is to make connections between trained Sound Alliance leaders and people who are isolated due to the pandemic. We have partnered with Seattle and King County Housing Authorities to connect with residents who are interested in having conversation partners. If you are interested in this project, learn more here.
THE (NEW) DEBT TEAM: Earlier this year, we began to hear stories from neighbors about unpaid traffic tickets that our neighbors did not have the ability to pay. We decided to learn more about the issues of fines and fees and how they affect low-income people. We formed a debt team within Sound Alliance that has been working for the past nine months on educating ourselves and our leaders on the intricate ways our governments and courts rely on the funds from debt collectors to run.
THE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS TEAM: COVID-19 has posed unique challenges to the immigrant community in Washington. In response, the Immigrant Rights team urged the Governor to create a Washington Worker Relief Fund available to unemployed workers, regardless of immigration status, for which $40 million in support was approved. Additionally, our Alliance’s education associations will be working with immigrant community leaders to bring greater education equity for students and families and the Alliance will prioritize leadership training in Spanish. This year, we also welcomed El Comité, and their long history of immigrant rights organizing, as a member of Sound Alliance.
To get involved with or learn about our teams, read more here.
IMAGINING A BETTER TOMORROW.
On January 29th, we will be (virtually) celebrating 15 years of organizing for the common good in the Puget Sound region while we raise funds to continue our work through this new year and beyond. Join us.
THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION
This legislative session will be unlike any other. Despite the restrictions the Legislature will face, we are more determined than ever to continue advocating for progressive revenue solutions that reform our upside-down tax code and oppose an austerity budget.
This coming spring, we will be conducting listening sessions within our member organizations to hear about what has been weighing on you throughout this tumultuous time. These meetings are key to identifying new leaders and naming the issues we will work on for the common good.
The resilience we have shown as an alliance this year will be the strength we draw on to face the next. 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us the flaws of our system including housing insecurity, racial injustice, and the need for health care access. We are not going back to "normal" in 2021 because normal hasn't been working for a lot of people. Our mission is more important than ever, invest in our work here.