Portrait of Minnesota House Representative Ilhan Omar by Skye Lucking.
It was tough times between November and January in terms of political feeling. I was (and still am) energized and ready to take action when and where I could. If art was associated with that action – all the better. One of the opportunities I had was to donate artwork to the “Nasty Women – Phoenix Unite” Art Show. My idea was to look for the positive and I identified 3 Notable Women that gave me hope and inspired my action. You can read more about that here.
One of those notable women was Ilan Omar.
Ilhan Omar is the newly elected, Minnesota House Representative for District 60B. She is the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the nation to hold an office at this level. After the start of the Somali civil war in 1991, she and her family left the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.
I was so pleased to see that Representative Omar was a guest on The Daily Show last night. She’s one of those people you want everyone to know about. A child refugee. A Somali-American, Muslim woman. She’s strong. She’s eloquent. She’s American through and through. She’s part of a government that is increasingly hostile to those people exactly like her. She’s crushing it.
Representative Ilhan Omar on The Daily Show (Video)
Time-Lapse Video of Representative Ilhan Omar Portrait
Peace comes by way of inviting and understanding those that are different from you, not blocking and hating them. This is why Ilhan Omar is important. She shows us that there is no one-type of American and that’s what makes America great.
On Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Phoenix were happy to host the education advocacy organizations AZ ED101 and Save Our Schools Arizona. SoS AZ representatives Miryam Lerma and Jimmy Arwood gave the RPCV Phoenix a run-down on the nitty-gritty of petition circulation, signing, and turning in. (It’s been made unnecessarily tricky – but now we know! Say it with me now: “Near and Complete!”). We were also extremely fortunate to have Anne K. Ellsworth and Sarah Richardson from AZED 101 walks us through the how, what, and when of Arizona’s current dumpster fire of an education budget. (Notice I didn’t put ‘why’, because – WHYYYYY?!??!?!?! would people deny our children and grandchildren the opportunity to get a decent education?! But, I digress.)
There were two goals of this meeting:
Understand the history and current state of education in Arizona including the effects of vouchers on public education
Get the proper training and materials to circulate petitions that will refer SB1431 — the ESA voucher expansion bill — to the voters of Arizona in 2018 so they can vote NO on expansion of vouchers.<
AZED 101 Presentation about the Arizona Education
Ms. Richardson (she’s a business professor, after-all, so I’ll call her Ms!) led our group through the long history of very terrible choices that have put Arizona schools at the totally unenviable position of last, dead last, in education in the country. We went through the following information.
Overall state budget
State education budget
Issues in AZ education
Public school protections
What can you do
The best way to solve a problem is to understand its origin and current state. This brilliant presentation did just that. It was as informative as it was infuriating. It was also based purely on fact and completely non-partisan. They want to show it to every person in Arizona and I hope they do. You can find out how to get this presentation in front of your organization by going here: http://azed101.org/presentation/ .
Save Our Schools Arizona: Petition Training
The goal: We are seeking to refer SB1431 — the ESA voucher expansion bill — to the voters of Arizona in 2018 so they can vote NO on expansion of vouchers.
To refer SB1431 to the voters – we must petition to get it on the 2018 ballot. There must be 76,000 valid signatures. The key word there is valid. Rules have been put in place to make the use of petitions to get the voice of the people hear – very difficult. There are many rules and if they aren’t followed the entire petition page can be thrown out! Since this is the case, the goal is to get 150,000 signatures to cover our bases. We can do this!
Check out the training video below to get the exact details what to do when getting signatures and turning in ballots.
Education Activism – What’s Next?
If you are an RPCV Phoenix member and couldn’t make it – no worries! Contact Skye Lucking and I will help you get some petitions to start circulating!
If you got some petitions at the event – get those puppies signed and notarized as soon as you can. Then pick up some more!
If you’re interested in volunteering for either of these organizations, go to their websites to learn more: