How it all began...
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.
In 2014, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader published a book, Unstoppable: the emerging left-right alliance to dismantle the corporate state. The book captures much of the same thoughts that inspired the 99 Unite Civic Forum. We recommend everyone to read it.