Assembly: Candidates Commit to Alliance Asks, Moving Campaigns Forward
Five of the six Seattle School Board candidates committed to supporting major asks from Sound Alliance’s three campaigns at our 10/26 Action Assembly at Casa Latina, strategically moving those campaigns forward.
The assembly featured excellent testimonies and leadership from Sound Alliance members. Congratulations to all who worked to make the event a success!
The assembly kicked off with an energizing roll call
Physical Education (PE) Campaign
The evening started off with strong testimonies from Liz Fleck, Stuart Hamilton, and Toni Bader, all PE teachers at Seattle Public Schools.
Many of the Seattle Public Schools are failing the state minimum mandate of 100 minutes of PE every week. In addition, PE facilities are underfunded.
The speakers outlined the social, educational, and mental health issues for students that come with not enough time scheduled for PE.
Mr. Hamilton talked about the mental health issues that come with putting more pressure on children academically while decreasing physical activity their growing bodies need:
“I have noticed what seems to be an alarming increase in anxiety and panic attacks among students. Just last spring I witnessed a young lady curled up in the fetal position screaming in the hall, in a full blown panic attack. Students struggle to sit still in desks and tables for 6 hours a day.”
PE Campaign chairwoman Dr. Amy Yam (Swedish Family Medicine Residency Cherry Hill) asked the school board candidates:
Will you work with Sound Alliance to ensure that students meet the state standard of an average 100 minutes per week in physical education, and
Will you support policies in Seattle Public Schools that prioritize the creation of greater recreational space designated for physical education?
Stuart Hamilton, PE teacher, testifies. Watch his speech here.
All in for Washington
Moving on to the next campaign, speakers shared stories of the impact that Washington’s upside-down tax code and budget shortfalls have on their families and friends.
Ann Dunbar (Seattle Education Association) talked about the economic pressures on her fellow teachers from underfunding salaries and school districts.
Jackie Vaughn (Fuse Washington) talked about how cleaning up the upside-down tax code is an economic and racial justice issue that impacts her family and community on an individual and structural level.
“My mother is a single mother who falls into the income bracket where she currently pays about 11% of her income into state and local taxes compared to those at the top who only pay 2.4%...I have a sister and younger cousins, students of color from low-income households, who are currently attending schools that are underfunded.
We can not keep asking communities of color and low-income communities to pick up the tab for our state budget while grossly underfunding the programs and services we need to close both the economic and educational gap.”
Aida Sanchez-Vela (Interpreters United Local 1671) asked the school board candidates:
- Will you pursue endorsement by the school board for the All in for Washington campaign?
- Will you work with us at the legislature and other venues to fix our upside-down tax revenue system so that Seattle education will be more equally funded?
Jackie Vaughn (Fuse Washington) tells her story. Watch her speech here.
Two speakers spoke in support of this Sound Alliance campaign that is researching ways to help undocumented families.
Kailey Harem (Federal Way Education Association) is known to her students as a trusted advisor regardless of immigration status, and sometimes in the process of helping them apply for college, finds out more about their lives than she expects.
She shared stories of her student’s courage and determination to make a better life for themselves through education, seeing more in their 16 years than others have seen in their lifetime:
“I have a student who said goodbye to his mom at 17 and swam the Rio Grande by himself. I have another student who lost both her parents, grandparents and a sister in the Congo, miraculously reunited with her brother at a refugee camp in Kenya and then got placed in Federal Way. So many of my students haven’t seen their parents in years.”
Roberta Ray (University Unitarian Church), shared her own family’s experience with immigration and stated, “Our Sound Alliance institutions are working to build a world in which every student is valued and affirmed, period.”
She then asked the school board candidates:
- Will you commit to continuing to support undocumented students and their families to ensure their rights are defended?
- Are you willing to be a statewide leader and support other districts as they promote & develop schoolwide approaches to supporting undocumented students & their families?
Co-Chair Jordan Seto (Health Equity Circle) Rallies the Crowd
Call to Action and Commitments
Co-chair Mike Alvine, (Country Doctor Community Health Centers) asked the School Board Candidates - Eden Mack and Herbert J. Camet, Jr. (District 4), Omar Vasquez (District 5), and Betty Patu, Chelsea Byers (District 7) - if they could commit to the six asks Sound Alliance leaders posed throughout the event.
In addition to saying YES to our asks, the candidates also showed they were moved by the stories they had heard. When it was their turn to speak they took a cue and told their own stories, speaking to the three different issues.
At the end of the evening, Co-Chair Jordan Seto (Health Equity Circle), rallied the crowd and gathered their commitments to continue our important work together.
If you are interested in helping out with any of the Alliance's campaigns, please contact Dorothy Gibson, Sound Alliance organizer.