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Red for Ed Campaign Picks up Momentum in Virginia

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Virginia Educators United
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Education advocates have an ask for parents, community members, and teachers across the state this school year -- and that’s to wear red for ed.

The Red for Ed campaign began in Arizona, where a grassroots movement led to a raise in teacher pay and increased funding for public education.

“It was so inspiring to see teachers and parents and communities stand together,” recalls Sarah Pedersen.

Pedersen is a teacher in Richmond, and an organizer with Virginia Educators United. The group began this summer to help build the groundwork for a potentially similar movement in Virginia.

“We really have been working very hard to try to ensure that the General Assembly is aware that Virginia could be next,” says Pedersen.

Part of the campaign is encouraging people across the state to wear red each Wednesday -- then share their support for public education by using #redfored on social media.

“We want everyone to understand that education isn’t a sunk cost, it’s an investment,” Pedersen says. “And we’re asking our leaders - our electeds - to understand that just as stand together on Wednesdays, we will stand together at the ballot box.”

So far the movement is strongest in Richmond. But organizers in Shenandoah, Northern Virginia and Roanoke have also been on board.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief. She's covered policy and politics from the state capital since 2016. She was a 2020-2021 recipient of the Fulbright Young Journalist Award. She spent a year in Munich, Germany researching memory, justice, and how a society can collectively confront its sins. Her Virginia-based coverage of home healthcare workers, voting rights, and Richmond’s Slave Trail have won national news awards.
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