About the 99 Unite Civic Forum The 99 Unite Civic Forum is an initiative that came out of the 2013 Occupy Portland Summer Capacity-Building Conference, as a response to a discussion about how to revive the initial strength of the movement during the first three weeks of October 2011. Three months following the conference, the 99 Unite Civic Forum was established in November 2013. We currently hold a monthly regular meeting on third Wednesday of every month at the Friends of Occupy Portland administrative office at 1131 S.E. Oak St., Portland, Oregon 97214. Our vision is to be a platform for moderate bipartisan collaboration towards specific local and statewide issues that affect ordinary people as well as those who are socially or economically vulnerable, while exploring ways to empower individuals through promoting personal responsibilities and individual liberties. It is our goal to draw from the strengths and wisdoms of conservatives, libertarians, centrists, liberals, and progressives alike. In this age of increasing polarization, the 99 Unite Civic Forum seeks to be a voice of moderation and conscience that places people before politics or ideologies.
While the 99 Unite Civic Forum is supported by the Friends of Occupy Portland, an Oregon non-profit corporation, it is independent of the Occupy organization and does not necessarily endorse or support positions put forth by various Occupy-related groups. For our upcoming public forum events, check the Forums page. To contribute to the 99 Unite Civic Forum, please consult the Contribute page for more information.
Sarah A. Morrigan joined Occupy Portland on October 6, 2011, the very first night of the 39-day occupation of downtown Portland's Chapman, Lownsdale, and Terry Schrunk parks. She lived on the park for the full 39 days, living and breathing the heady days of the emerging worldwide mass movement. During this period, she founded the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (later renamed Interfaith Solidarity Cascadia, and then Lightspark Commons) and coordinated over 20 faith-specific and interfaith services and events in the encampment, and served as a resident chaplain of the encampment. Following the end of occupation on November 12, 2011, this work continued through the successful "Occupy Thanksgiving PDX" and "Occupy Christmas PDX" events in 2011.
In 2012, as Sarah saw the disintegration of the Occupy movement, non-stop infighting, and profound organizational dysfunction she felt profoundly disillusioned -- as much as she had invested so much into Occupy and how it changed her life in a major way. In 2011, Sarah was a hardcore socialist and admirer of Maoism and even Juche. Her activist experience was largely shaped by training and indoctrination received from various local far-leftist organizations. But during this period of soul-searching over the autumn of 2012 through winter of 2013, she ventured to expand her learning and perspectives by actively studying the works of those she once despised: paleoconservatives and classical liberals.
In August 2013, Sarah organized and hosted the Occupy Portland Summer Capacity-Building Conference, a two-day event that drew about 50 attendees. During this conference, she posed a question: what brought together nearly 10,000 people on October 6, 2011 -- and why did this once-successful movement fizzle out. As a result of discussions from this conference, as well as her discovery of conservatism and subsequent interest in connecting people on the basis of shared values and common good, Sarah founded the 99 Unite Civic Forum in November 2013.
The 99 Unite Civic Forum is decidedly and unapologetically moderate, bipartisan/nonpartisan, and prioritizes the well-being of the community and individuals over political ideologies or analysis.