90 leaders from 17 different institutions witnessed public commitments supporting immigrants and children, heard personal stories of how these issues impacted people’s lives, saw Sound Alliance’s brand new video, and more at a packed Sound Alliance Action and Delegate Assembly on October 18.
Project ENGAGE (Educating the Next Generation - Activity as the Gateway to Equity)
Erik Grotzke, a math teacher and coach at Federal Way High School, told the assembly a story about how one of his students - Kyle - had a laundry list of reasons why he would have trouble in school including gun violence and gang influences at home. He was a gifted athlete, and although discipline was an issue, his coaches did not give up on him. Kyle’s path was not straight, but he eventually graduated and got a great union job. He recently called his coach to thank him for supporting him and to give him an update on his life. The takeaway: access to high-quality physical education gave Kyle the space and motivation to finish school, highlighting the importance of physical activity to a whole, healthy, well-educated child.
Dana Henry, Federal Way Education Association, a co-chair with Sound Alliance’s Project ENGAGE team, asked Ken Turner, representing Chris Reykdal, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, if the Superintendent would commit to work with the Sound Alliance to:
- Preserve Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA) funding to improve educational outcomes for vulnerable youth in the upcoming legislative session, and
- Increase high-quality physical education and physical activity opportunities for young people, meeting the needs of students of all abilities in King and Pierce Counties.
Mr. Turner said yes! In the coming months, Project ENGAGE leaders will follow up to keep the Superintendent's office accountable to its commitments.
Katie Goodson, a Pastoral Assistant at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, spoke next about her transformative experience at a Sound Alliance Know Your Rights training. She said she learned “I am not powerless and neither is my institution” to protect immigrants and help them claim their constitutional rights. She learned, for example, about the limited scope of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warrants and how she could ask ICE to leave the church’s property if they were hanging around looking for undocumented people. She also learned some facts about immigration to share with her circle of influence, to help change anti-immigrant hearts and minds through spreading truths.
Adelfa Moreno, a staff person at St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County, sees every day the impact of losing family members and breadwinners, causing trauma to immigrant families. She affirmed the importance of Know Your Rights Trainings as a measure to keep the community safe and whole.
Lynn Macdonald, Tacoma Dominican Sisters and Associates, a leader with Sound Alliance’s Immigrant Rights Action Team, then asked executive leaders of schools, congregations, and clinics if they would invite their front office staff and volunteers to attend training offered by the Sound Alliance to give them the tools to deal with ICE should they come to their institutions’ buildings.
Leaders from 12 institutions including the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia and Sea Mar Community Health Center all said yes!
As a bonus, Dr. Tammy Campbell, superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools, committed not only to ensuring that her staff is trained to ensure her schools are safe places, but after hearing Project ENGAGE testimony, committed to working with Sound Alliance on equity in physical education and physical activity.
The Immigrant Rights Action Team will follow up with these institutions to schedule these trainings. Please contact Roberta Ray, University Unitarian Church, if you are interested in getting involved.
Focus on Sound Alliance
Assembly participants watched the premiere of a brand new Sound Alliance video detailing how we develop the diverse voices of our community, and then knit them together one by one to build power.
Delegates also confirmed Mary Jo Shannon, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, as a board member. Thank you to Mary Jo and our other board members for your service to our community!