Letter to Seattle City Councilmembers

Seattle City Councilmembers are currently considering a budget amendment that would pay for GPS tablets in school buses. As a parent volunteer, I have been advocating to local and state elected leaders for support to address our serious operational challenges, which disproportionately impact our students furthest from educational justice. The text of my letter is below:

Dear Councilmembers,

I am writing to ask for your support with the budget amendment DEEL 004 A 001 “Add $500,000 GF to DEEL to improve Seattle Public Schools’ bus routing technology.”

I am a parent of 4 current and future Seattle Public Schools students, a PTA president, and a member of our Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. Having witnessed the bus service disruptions over the last few years, a group of parent volunteers and I collected bus route and demographic data and wrote a white paper on proposed funding cuts to bus transportation in our district. Our data analysis underscores the inequities of our bus transportation services, particularly toward our special education, McKinney-Vento, and BIPOC students. 

The issues hamstringing our district’s ability to provide equitable bus transportation are complex and layered. Nonetheless, this simple budget allocation for GPS tablets for each bus will have immediate, positive impact to students and working families and to our vendor’s ability to recruit and retain bus drivers. This summer, I learned about the chaotic bus service for our special education students, including one 3rd grade, autistic student who was driven to the wrong school and her mom could not find her for hours. Having a GPS tablet will enable accurate, up to date bus route information for our drivers and prevent such mishaps. Being able to share bus location and pick-up and drop-off times will go a long way to support working families in coordinating transportation and child care for their students.

Please vote in favor.

Sincerely,

Vivian Song Maritz

 

Supporting the “Back to the Stage” Letter

Hello everyone! It’s Diego, the intern, writing this one. Vivian has consistently held that community input and collaboration are integral to her campaign. Accordingly, Vivian has graciously asked me (a Roosevelt Highschool Alumni) to talk about the campaign’s position on the “Back to the Stage!” letter sent to SPS. 

Context for those unaware: Roosevelt Highschool’s performing arts programs have not been allowed to conduct in-person performances due to the pandemic and have sent a letter to SPS asking for this to be changed. SPS is reviewing the ban on in-person performances, which is set to end on October 31st. You can find a link to the letter itself at the bottom of this post.

Roosevelt has an incredible performing arts program, and to see it unfairly stifled is genuinely upsetting. Roosevelt’s theatre department provided me with a great community that formed me more as a person than almost any other class. Theatre wasn’t just a fanciful extra-curricular; it taught me about working hard, it taught me about teamwork, it taught me about dedication, responsibility, and accountability. The memories of the long hours we put in preparing for brilliant performances after school are some of my best. While I did not pursue theatre in college, I have friends who attended prestigious universities and conservatory programs (USC and Carnegie Mellon, to name a couple). Roosevelt’s art programs are stellar and worth investing in.

While I can’t speak for the Orchestra, Choir, Jazz, or Band from personal experience, I know from friends that their experiences are similar. While we must be safe (masks, proof of vaccination, social distancing, we all know the drill by now), I do not see a reason to continue a unilateral ban on in-person performances. Theatres, bands, choirs, and all manner of other performance-based entertainment venues are being allowed to open up around the city, county, and state. Why shouldn’t Roosevelt?

The campaign supports ending the ban on in-person performances, consistent with Vivian’s position that safe in-person education is best for our students. We hope SPS understands our position, and we hope to see our talented students take to the stage again soon.

Link to the letter

Link to Roosevelt Orchestra’s Facebook post about the situation

Running and serving as a POC

“What are these balloons for?”

“Oh! This is a Meet the Candidate Event. I am running for office.”

“I only vote locally.”

“Great! This is for a local office, school board.”

“No. I only vote for people from this country.”

This is an actual conversation I had with someone walking by my event at Magnolia Park on Saturday. My children and my mother were with me and heard the whole exchange. 

Earlier this week, King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who is seeking re-election, sent out attack mailers against her opponent Sarah Perry. Her mailer featured — US Vice President Kamala Harris, Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant, and just one of her nine colleagues, Councilmember Girmay Zahilay. What’s the connection? These elected leaders are all POC. This is a deeply racist attack mailer and I am glad that Seattle Times pulled their endorsement in reaction to this and her unwillingness to take responsibility and to apologize immediately. 

Sage Leaders is hosting regular support sessions for POC candidates for School Board, across Washington state, who are reporting racially motivated harassment and intimidation — verbal and physical. 

When meeting with a former elected city leader who is a Black man, I ignorantly asked him for advice on canvassing. He laughed and said, “No, I never knocked on doors. Can you imagine what would happen if an unfamiliar Black man showed up at someone’s door?”

It was important to me to run a campaign focused solely on the strengths that I bring to the table. I believe my professional skills in finance and operations are needed as our district navigates significant financial pressure from the fallout of the pandemic. I believe my lived experiences as an English as Second language student, a special education student, and as a parent of a special education student and navigating this very system for the support she needs, will inform the decisions I am making on behalf of the entire district. I believe my record of community service, including advocacy work I have already done as a volunteer for students and families, provides clues as to how I intend to serve — rooted in community engagement, collaboration, and commitment. 

None of this was apparently relevant to that person in Magnolia Park. Only the color of my skin.

I am not deterred and having gone through this experience, I am committed to supporting future POC candidates. POC candidates and elected leaders simply grapple with a whole different set of challenges. I have deeply benefited from the support of many community leaders and organizations, such as First Mile Circle. For now, it’s onward for me and a promise to carry others along with me. 

Happier Moment at Magnolia Park

 

 

Vivian and her daughter at the park

KCYD Endorsement

I am pleased to announce that the King County Young Democrats have endorsed me! It is an honor to know that the newer generation- some of whom may still be SPS students- trust me with improving Seattle Public Schools. They asked candidates to answer the following prompt in a video:
We at King County Young Democrats believe that young people and their issues have been ignored and pushed aside in politics. What have you done to advance youth issues in King County?

And I sent in this video. As a side note, I’d like to thank the Young Democrats for their request to provide captions or a transcript. As someone who is hard of hearing, I am personally grateful that they made this request of all candidate submissions.

 

Kicking Off the General Election Campaign!

Hi there! I know, it’s been awhile since I posted. After winning my district primary with 60% of the votes, I have been relaxing and reconnecting with my family during the final weeks of summer vacation: enjoying the beautiful outdoors in Washington state, reading great books, and eating a lot of popsicles. 

Now, alongside thousands of families across Seattle, I am sending my kids to their first days of the school year. My 4th and 3rd graders have finished their first week and my kindergartner and preschooler start tomorrow.  So, I’m ready to kick off my campaign for the general election!

What’s different about the primary and general election is that it’s a city-wide election. All voters in Seattle can vote for me. While not a little daunting, because I have had so many meaningful and memorable conversations with voters in District 4, I am excited to engage with voters and take my message across Seattle. 

I believe that my solutions-oriented campaign and what I bring to the table — my lived and learned experiences — resonated with so many voters in District 4 and will also resonate across our city, across to Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. My growing list of endorsements from both elected officials and community leaders shows that I am what Seattle Public Schools needs right now. I aim to drive greater equity, accountability, and ultimately a healthy and thriving community for all of our students, staff, and families. 

I’ve got 8 weeks until November 2nd. I’ll be posting regularly to my campaign blog and Facebook page — announcing new endorsements and campaign events. And as I meet with voters and community leaders, I will share with you what I have heard and learned from those conversations and how I hope to drive policies that address the real issues impacting our students.

If you are interested in supporting my campaign, donations are always appreciated and can be done quickly and easily via my website www.vivianforseattleschools.com. You can also help spread the word about my campaign, by talking to friends and family, sharing my posts on social media, and ultimately helping me get out the vote! Ballots go out on October 15th and need to be returned by November 2nd. Until then, I look forward to earning your vote!

Vivian's Annual Back to School Family Selfie

Introducing: Diego Batres

Hello all! My name is Diego Batres, and I am the newest addition to Vivian’s Campaign! I’m helping manage the social media accounts and various other odds and ends. I’m a Washingtonian born and raised, and I am currently attending Seattle University for a double major in English and Political Science.

I’m super excited to be involved in this campaign and to (hopefully) make a difference in our local politics. I attended Roosevelt High School, so while I don’t have direct experience with School District 4, I have attended Seattle Public Schools. Those experiences are part of why I have chosen to work with Vivian. In particular, her position on mental health services as essential is absolutely correct and sorely needed, especially in our high schools. It is clear to me that she really cares about Seattle Public Schools and its families, and while I can’t vote for her, I encourage everyone who can to do so. I look forward to seeing how the primary shakes down, and if we make it through, you may see some personal anecdotes about my experiences with SPS in the future.

Remember, the primary ends on August 3rd! Make sure to vote!