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Assembly Boosts Best Starts for Kids Levy Agenda and Rallies Alliance

May 2015 -- The Sound Alliance Action Assembly on May 18 successfully moved the Alliance’s Best Starts for Kids levy agenda forward and rallied leaders around a vision of a growing, stronger alliance. Sound Alliance institutions publically committed to briefing over 4,000 of their members about the Best Starts for Kids levy and to support Alliance growth, especially in Pierce County.
Assembly Boosts Best Starts for Kids Levy Agenda and Rallies Alliance

Lorelei Walker, Health Equity Circle, secures commitments from Ms. Carrie Cihak on behalf of King County Executive Dow Constantine (Photo Credit: Bill Adams)

May 2015

The Sound Alliance Action Assembly on May 18 successfully moved the Alliance’s Best Starts for Kids levy agenda forward and rallied leaders around a vision of a growing, stronger alliance.

 

Best Starts for Kids Levy

The Best Starts for Kids levy would fund programs to help ensure that children, especially those under 5, have a good start to life.

Co-chairs Aida Sanchez-Vela, Saltwater Unitarian Church, and Jordan Seto, Health Equity Circle reminded Alliance members of the issues raised through the listening process at the beginning of the year.

Then, Sound Alliance leaders shared powerful stories about issues they had experienced in their lives raising and interacting with children – problems with mental illness, health care, education.

Members agreed that they didn't want to see other families suffer the same hardships.

The Best Starts for Kids levy will fund programs that will have early intervention in many of these issue areas, all of which Sound Alliance listening had also brought up.

 

One to one meeting BSK Assembly

One to one meeting: “How does the Best Starts for Kids levy fit with your institutional values?” (Photo Credit: Bill Adams)

 

Theresa Turner, Kent Education Association, shared the story of a child in her class that had experienced homelessness and multiple foster situations.  At one point, even though he was in a good foster family, he confided that he was unable to meet the expectations that they had for him. His life experiences did not give him the tools he needed to be successful. Turner ended her story saying that she doesn’t know where he is now.

“I’ve seen a lot of students in public schools struggle because they have lacked the resources like early intervention, health care, and social services. This is wrong and it has to stop,” she said.

After hearing these testimonies, Sound Alliance institutions publically committed to briefing over 4,000 of their members about the Best Starts for Kids levy!


Audience at BSK assembly

Audience members learn about the Best Starts for Kids Levy (Photo Credit: Bill Adams)


In addition, Assembly leaders negotiated two commitments from Ms. Carrie Cihak, Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives for King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The first is to develop a working relationship with the Executive and to collaborate on building a strong community voice into the levy before it leaves the King County Council. Executive Constantine has committed to meeting with alliance leaders within the month.

This was a win because building long-lasting working relationships with community leaders such as Mr. Constantine is as important for the Sound Alliance as whatever issue it is currently taking on.

The second commitment the Alliance secured from Ms. Cihak is for an accountability mechanism to be built into the levy policy:  regular, easily understandable public disclosures about which communities were selected, how much money was spent, which organizations received funding, and the reasons those organizations were selected.

 

Walker Cihak

Lorelei Walker, Health Equity Circle, secures commitments from Ms. Carrie Cihak on behalf of King County Executive Dow Constantine (Photo Credit: Bill Adams)

 

 

Building a Stronger Sound Alliance

In another part of the agenda, Rev. James Kubal-Komoto, Saltwater Unitarian Church, shared his hopes for the Alliance’s future: building stronger institutions, growing more powerful in Pierce County, and bringing on new member institutions. He even set a numeric goal: that the Sound Alliance becomes able to turn out 500 people two times a year to our actions and assemblies!

Linda Parrish, Tacoma Dominican Sisters and Associates, spoke specifically about the Alliance’s recent growth in Pierce County. She asked King county leaders if they would show up for Pierce County in the same way that Pierce County has shown up for King county.  Leaders all responded with a resounding “yes”!

 

Great work to all who came out to make the Action Assembly a success!  Alliance members proved once again that we are stronger together!

 

View more photos of the evening on Facebook