“You’re a big crowd!” exclaimed Governor Christine Gregoire as she took the podium at the Sound Alliance’s Founding Assembly on June 1. We were a big crowd, and the 110 members of UUC’s delegation were right in the forefront!
Hundreds of people from labor unions, churches, synagogues, and grassroots citizen groups came together to adopt our Agenda for the Common Good. Powerful personal testimonies put a human face on the issues, and we publicly negotiated concrete next steps with the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader on health care, education reform and energy conservation.
Our own social justice coordinator Jennifer Bright added to UUC’s visible leadership role as one of the co-chairs of the proceedings, as well as Ruth Little, who cast our vote to formally found the Alliance.
The comments from UUC attendees reflect a sense of hope and powerful potential; pride in UUC for being a part of this endeavor; amazement and emotion at the effectiveness of the event itself; and enthusiasm for the value to UUC from working with such diverse organizations and people.
Boarding the bus at UUC: Ruth Bales-McCleerey, Beth Halfacre
UUC's delegation arrives at the Tacoma Convention Center
Judith Hance, Carol Beach, Harriet Platt
Taking our seatsErin Mahollitz
UUC's Social Justice Coordinator Jennifer Bright co-chairs the proceedings
Ruth Little casts UUC's vote to found the Alliance
Governor Christine Gregoire
Speaker of the House Frank ChoppSenate Majority Leader Lisa Brown
In their own words
- Roberta Ray: “My breath was completely taken away when I saw Casa Latina folks sitting in their area with their red shirts and yellow construction hats. The personal stories were moving, the energy was inspiring. The emphasis on regular folks doing the work was contagious - I wanted every member of UUC to experience what we had been part of.”
- Cheryl Stumbo: “The experience of being together as a UUC
delegation made me feel proud, empowered and more optimistic about the
future of our community than I've felt for some time. Activism works
and working activates!”
- Liz Strausz: “I was really energized by the Sound Alliance Founding Assembly event in Tacoma. I hope UUC will continue actively participating in the Alliance to make a difference in our wider community. This is a perfect way to live our UU values though social justice action. I loved feeling like I'm a part of the diverse community of Seattle. I hope more UUC members will want to get involved in participating with Sound Alliance. It was great to see Ruth Little representing UUC voting yes to found Sound Alliance. Thank you for getting me involved.”
- Sally Davis: “I felt excitement and inspiration from the solidarity shown by that huge group of people from so many other organizations. The program was exceptionally well planned. I am proud of UUC for being a part of Sound Alliance. I wish there were more UU churches involved.”
- Ed Belcher: “NPR reported on the Sound Alliance meeting this morning. I was proud of our church for being part of that positive, newsworthy event.”
- Ron Sherman-Peterson: “I came away feeling that this was the very best idea yet for social action, the perfect way to really make things happen."
- Jerome Chroman: “Doing something worthwhile and potentially transformative with such a large group of fellow UU's made me feel proud.”
- Sarajane Siegfriedt: “The level of organization impressed all of us. The event went off exactly on time and as planned. There was a lot of energy in the room. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp made the point that having so many advocates behind him would be a help in negotiating for more and better services. We've been assured of a place at the table. The groundwork has been laid for us to be heard.”
- Veronica Smith: “The experience of the Sound Alliance founding assembly filled me with joy, sadness, gratitude and optimism. I feel more optimistic than I have in many years as a result of witnessing the votes (and the diversity of people behind those votes) to found the alliance and the negotiations that have already advanced our agenda for the common good with key legislators. I was moved to tears by our storytellers who shared their heartbreaking experiences with broken healthcare, housing, education and immigration systems. My heart was buoyed by a young man's story about how he found a viable career that pays a living wage doing environmentally friendly work in the trades. I left the assembly full of joy about the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the life of Puget Sound and Washington State. It was clear that the Sound Alliance has entered into the public sphere prepared to do the people's work! I am eager to roll up my sleeves and serve the common good with joy!”
- Don Thulean: “I’ve been a proud Unitarian for over 50 years, but never before was I as proud as at the Sound Alliance gathering. What remarkable gathering it was!”
- Jan Woodward: “This Founding Assembly showed the Alliance to be the effective and influential ‘machine’ that it can be for our common good. The careful planning ahead was obvious and it was a thrill to be in the energetic section of UUC people supporting this awesome endeavor. I look forward to being part of the effort it will take to accomplish the goals.”
- Ruth Little: “Everyone I heard talking on the way out had the same impression: It was a great program, a real success, and they were all pleased. And the UUC folks were pleased about UUC's role in it all and our belonging to the Alliance. ‘It’s a good thing!’ they said.”
- Kristin Guest: “The whole event seemed amazingly well-planned, and truly astounding to pull off the coordination of SO many folks and keep on schedule. The Sound Alliance seems to be such a wonderful way for us to live out our mission in the larger community!”
- Judith LeConte: “I walked out feeling hopeful that UUC is part of a larger community that can make a difference in health care, sustainable jobs and the environment. I was most impressed with the statements of the Governor and Frank Chopp that our group was worth paying attention to and that they were willing to work with us. The Founding Assembly succeeded in launching a social justice agenda, establishing relationships with our elected officials and developing binding agreements for change.”
- Corinne Kelly: “The experience of the Founding Assembly was exciting and very inspiring. The work with Sound Alliance will ground UUC in the wider community and interfaith work in ways we have never previously been able to do. The experience of being together as a UUC delegation made me feel proud and hopeful. The most memorable thing was just seeing UU's in membership with a wide variety of faith traditions, unions and education and people of color as a block of power, power-in-community speaking to those in power in our Washington government. I walked out thinking, ‘what can't we do with a crowd like this!’”
- Debbie Maranville: “The more I learn about UUC’s history, leadership and involvement in our community and in the world, the prouder I am to be associated with our church: Attending Sound Alliance’s kickoff assembly was such a wonderful reminder of how much we matter.”
- Nancy Goodyear: “A huge, very positive learning experience for me, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys!”