Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 89

NK: It’s hard to summarize. There is nothing better than creating art with young adults and kids. DW: And then came RedForEd. What led you to becoming an activist? NK: A desire to change our realities for the better. I became frustrated with the status quo. I managed a campaign before this and have volunteered regularly for different efforts. Nothing similar to RedForEd in scope, though. DW: How would you define or describe the RedForEd movement to those unfamiliar with it? NK: RedForEd is a movement to increase funding for education in Arizona. The primary goal is to restore the 1.1 billion in education funding cuts. It all started with a tweet between myself and Joe Thomas discussing what the climate among educators in Arizona was like. Ultimately, we decided to have me start a RedForEd day. DW: you mention the climate among educators in Arizona. How would you describe the climate before and after Red For Ed? How has the climate shifted? NK: There is a far greater sense of solidarity, particularly among educators. This has changed the entire ways in which we engage with the system, as well as our views of our own roles as individual actors within a democracy. DW: How is the RedForEd movement related to the AEU (Arizona Educators United)? NK: AEU oversees and organizes the movement. DW: When did you realize that Arizona teachers were going to embrace the cause outlined by the AEU? NK: On March 6th, the day before our first RedForEd day, I felt that something had been sparked. I certainly could not have articulated what precisely, or what it would lead to. In that moment, you are excited by the energy, but you also have to realize the next steps forward. In organizing, there is almost no time to stop and appreciate moments like these simply because the battle has just begun and you must continue moving forward. Although, it is so important to deliberately take time to realize those moments as they are happening. DW: There are several states, such as West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Colorado that have recently staged walk outs in order to call upon educational reform. How does Arizona’s Red For Ed movement differ from them? 89