Segment Synopsis: Kunovic said that she was first attracted to the protests by the I[heart]UW campaign, which was more about UW and occurred around Valentine’s Day, 2011. As things progressed, however, she became outraged by what she saw as Walker’s flouting of the democratic process.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protest; I Heart UW campaign; Scott Walker; Teaching Assistants Association
Segment Synopsis: Recalling how she basically lived in the Capitol for several weeks, she said that the social relationships she built were what she remembered most. She also recalled Jesse Jackson’s historic visit and a moment at which he began singing “We Will Overcome” and the crowd sang with him in unison. She also remembered the very human interactions that occurred.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protest; Jesse Jackson; media tracking
Segment Synopsis: She talked about tasks like “cutting turf” and trash duty, and then quickly becoming part of the media team, which mobilized people to come out. Then, after they’d won the capitol and numbers of supporters dwindled, she took on different rolls such as volunteer scheduling, lost & found, and leading the media campaign to combat the notion that the protesters were destroying the capitol building.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protest; DefendWisconsin.org; social media
Segment Synopsis: She said that information came from various places, but since all those organizing media were amateurs at it, it was largely individually motivated and driven. She reflected on the sense of solidarity she found from dealing with hits on their website, which she administered.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protest; media
Segment Synopsis: She reflected her surprise that the capitol part didn’t end after the first night, and at the response of the governor. This led her to muse about how organic the protest had been in responding to what the Governor did, and how surprised she was to see a community organize itself so completely and so quickly.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protest; Scott Walker; Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill of 2011 (Act 10)
Segment Synopsis: She found it difficult to process this, being so close to the event and how odd it felt to be alone in her house after the protest was over. She also said that the community of protesters helped her realize how social a being she was and helped her transition to feeling like a Wisconsinite and an American rather than a Canadian and an outsider in some ways.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protest; Wisconsin
Segment Synopsis: While she thought she’d remember the content of the protest, she thought she’d really “take away” the social aspects of the protest. In contrast to rhetoric that said young people were apolitical and apathetic, she felt the protest showed how much of a stake young people had in their political life and how well the democratic process could work.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protest; politics
MM: OK, so if you could start by telling me what brought you to the Capitol inthe first place. Was there anything specific that drew you there?
MK: There was. So, I first came on Valentine's Day, and that was more of thefocused on UW. If you recall, we had that campaign "I Heart UW," and I had heard about that for weeks, actually. Some of my friends were involved in planning that campaign, and so I had planned to attend even before we heard, you know, the Thursday right before about the bill . This event was planned for at least several weeks before. Really the planning started early January, so I had been counting on going to that. And I went to pretty much communicate that message, to sign a valentine, to deliver it to Scott Walker, that funding to the U.W. shouldn't be cut. So, that's what initially drew me there, and if you want to think about it in academic terms, it was more of like a network effect, right? So, it was people that I knew that... and I went, and I was personally invited, and it started out that way. And then the next day, I came back, and I kept coming back in fact. And what drew me later... Well, what drew me the next day is the public testimonies. I wanted to hear the public testimonies, and I hadn't actually planned on giving one. I'm Canadian, so I thought, you know, it's to give priority to Wisconsinites and Americans before Canadians. I did eventually testify in the wee hours of the morning. Must have been like 6 A.M., or something like that. But I went for that, and I stayed overnight to show 00:01:00support. So, it was pretty much an exercise of solidarity, and then I mean, as things went, kept going on. First, it was like solidarity. I'm not even T.A.-ing this term. I am part of the Teaching Assistants Association, and I do pay dues as an associate member, but it started out as an exercise in solidarity, if you want to call it. And then I just became really outraged with the things in the bill, but also just--and this isn't a just-- how the governor was pretty much flouting the democratic process, you know? And we see this even now with the, you know, ignoring Judge Sumi's restraining order and all that. I mean, that came a lot later, but the little steps with having meetings without proper notice like that. I found really outraging and... or outrageous rather. And that provided the momentum for me to keep coming. 00:02:00
MM: OK. Is there anything, are there any specific memories that you have of thetime specifically that you were coming to the Capitol every day? Are there any things that stand out?
MK: Yeah, there are a lot of things, actually. So, I slept there every nightexcept for one. So, I mean, I lived there. I mean, that felt more like home than my home. And actually, the first night I slept at home after everything was finished, it felt odd being at home because you just come in and out in a couple of hours to shower. So, I mean, of course like all the political happenings will stay with me. But I think that what's most salient in my memory is like the social relationships that were formed inside the Capitol that I formed. They weren't just formed; people formed them, right? And yeah, those relationships 00:03:00and just that amazing process. Like the grassroots initiatives that formed inside, everything from, you know, like the food, the lending library, to the medic station, all that, which is apart from the politics. It's more of that human side that I think I'll remember most. And then there are of course also like the specific moments. So, I spent a lot of time in the first couple weeks in 300 NE, the Situation Room, right, as we called it. And, I mean, sometimes up there, you could get caught up in doing the work. So, one of the things that I was involved with is media tracking. I was on the media team there. So, tracking stories, but also now we are doing the different Wisconsin website and Twitter and Facebook and all that. But because it was located up there, there tended to be some separation from protests. And so one day, I was running back and forth 00:04:00to the T.A.A. office to pick up some flyers and ran back to the Capitol, and on my way out, I mean I stopped in the rotunda, and everyone was cheering really loudly, and I didn't know what was going on at that point. I mean, they were cheering literally all the time, but it was targeted towards something. I mean, everyone was looking up, and I just kind of stumbled in and made my way in on the ground floor of the rotunda, and this man, he must have been like 6' 3" and 300 pounds, just like towering over me, right? Kind of like motioned for me to come closer and let me stand right in front of him. And I look up, and it's Jesse Jackson, right? And this is... I mean, he just came probably like ten seconds after that man made room for me. So, it was just perfect timing, and then I-- this was the first time I saw Jesse Jackson, and it was around or maybe 00:05:0010:30 A.M., and he was addressing the crowd in the rotunda. Later that day, he was to give a speech outside. And so after his speech, he started singing, and this was before we started singing it all the time, the We Shall Overcome. And so, we're singing it, and we had, I had my hands in the air, as did many other people while singing. I think I was holding a sign as well, and this man, who I described him physically. He seemed... not someone I would go up to on the street and say, "Hi." He didn't seem, from the outward appearance, the friendliest fellow, but he grabbed my hand, and the whole crowd was swaying back and forth. So, then I linked up with the person next to me, and that was such a moving moment. Actually, this isn't so much of my personality, like started to 00:06:00shed tears because I just felt totally swept up in the moment, and like we were all in it together. Just... there were thousands of people crammed there on the ground floor, on the first floor of the rotunda, singing this all in unison, and I just felt so connected to the people around me. And that moment stayed with me for the rest of the protests and is still with me. And I think it'll stay with me into the future. That really stood out. And then there were so many other smaller moments of interaction with like seeing people helping one another, right? It was just like... And also the ideas that came out, right? So... There was the whole child care center, and the lending libraries, and people loaning, or like splitting their granola bars, even things like that. When started running... when we thought we started running low on food because we were worried that we couldn't get any more food in to the Capitol. We always managed to find a way, but you know, people sharing those supplies and stories with you. 00:07:00It's not even about the materials, right? It's also stories and just the atmosphere that was created inside the Capitol will definitely stay with me. And it's almost like after it ended that I missed that. It's like a withdrawal, right? You're caught up in that. That is your life. You're sleeping next to... like waking up next to people who, I guess, become your friends, or at least acquaintances. And it's funny because, you know, when we were kicked out, and then we reoccupied the Capitol afterwards, we had... I ran into this guy, he just looked so familiar [inaudible]. It's because we'd been for like three nights like sleeping right next to one another. [MK and MM laugh] Right? Like, "Oh, hey!" And I hadn't even caught his name at that point, but we had just 00:08:00watched a lot of stories. That's just funny.
MM: OK, could you describe a little bit more what you were involved in doing?Like the kind of activities that you helped with, some more about the things that you did, maybe in 300 NE also. Like what your role was.
MK: Right. OK. So, at first... Oh lord, let me think back. At first, I did a lotof different things like data entry, for example. They needed a lot of data entry, so the petitions that were being signed, just putting in people's addresses. And I actually, we called it... Oh, what did we call it? Something, "cutting turf," was the term for it. So, one night, I spent I think like six hours straight or more looking at like maps and then sectioning them off. It was 00:09:00pretty much for canvassing. There's this great program where they print out lists, and I would group households in a way that made it, hopefully, I mean I hopefully made it easier for the canvassers to go door to door. So, those were kind of like... I started out in those supportive roles, and then of course, like whatever tasks needed to be done there, helping with trash duty, which Trevor Young-Hyman, a friend of mine, initiated. Marshalling sometimes, I mean, miscellaneous duties. And then I really quickly actually became involved with the media team and was doing, as I said a little bit earlier, the... [coughs] Excuse me, the media tracking. So at first, a lot of our focus was on keeping track of all the stories about us, and then it just exploded at one point and so it was difficult to keep track. At one point, it was actually manageable. So, 00:10:00updating a wiki. And then I got really into when the DefendWisconsin.org website took off, you know, helping that and contributing a lot to that, working on it. So, we had a shift system set up, but we all ended up working on it all the time. And we were so absorbed. And of course with that came the Facebook and the Twitter. So, my real focus then became on like getting information out there through these websites and motivating people, mobilizing people to come out through these social media outlets. So, a lot of the time as well, I was the contact inside. Since I was sleeping there every night, I would do, and when I couldn't get on the Internet, phone out and give updates so that we would get that information out quickly, and we did have... Right now we have over 5,000 followers on Twitter, for example. So, we could get that information out to that many people, and a lot more visiting our website. So that, that became my role, 00:11:00and then in that very last week... I mean, we had won the Capitol on Sunday night, I forget which exact Sunday night it was now, the date, but we had won it, Sunday night. Monday night, our numbers shrank a lot. Monday our number shrank a lot because people left and expected to be able to come back in. We were not being allowed back in. I managed to get back in. And then that week, our numbers were very small, so we were taking on different roles. Like I was still doing the media stuff, but I, for example--I think it was the Wednesday night--started to organize a volunteer schedule. So, I reset up the lost and found. We had had one, but everything, or not everything, but a lot of things when we had to move from the upper floors down to the grand floors and didn't get set back up again. So, I spent some time setting the lost and found back up. 00:12:00Organizing that, setting the lending library back up, and I had written out this chart with a volunteer schedule for food duties and cleanup duties, and put that up. We had some people sign up and unfortunately the next day, we left the Capitol. That was when we had the judge's order. So, that didn't get a chance to get going, but on that last day in the morning, I had organized a cleanup effort inside. I mean, the Capitol was kept in really good shape considering how many people were staying there--living there, not just staying there. It was really good, but we wanted to show--get the message out--that we really this was at the time when the news stories were breaking the we were slobs and not taking care of the capital and it was disgusting in there. So, we wanted to show as well that, you know, we care, but this is our house and we'll take care of it like it is our house. So, that morning, I organized that through the, you know, we had 00:13:00these announcements in the morning and community town halls. That's another way that I was involved, and I'm still involved now with the DefendWisconsin.org. We got ourselves a shift system now, which makes things a little easier, or a lot easier, I should say because you could carry on, to a certain extent, normal, whatever normal life is, right? So, I still do that. That's in my routine.
MM: Could you maybe talk a little bit more about this kind of community buildingthat went on in the Capitol, and because it seems like something that almost happened overnight, and if you could maybe describe a little more of the process of how things like that, like the lending library and the Lost and Found and the food donations, kind of got set up, that process?
MK: Right, sure. I mean, I'll try to because I'm trying to figure out how thatall happened myself. Because this is the whole thing, right? It wasn't organized 00:14:00only by one person or one group; it was, what seems like to me, was individuals and also groups of individuals taking it upon themselves to just do it. There wasn't really someone to ask. Like, "Can I set up this [inaudible]?" People just did. So, I actually don't know who set up the lending libraries. Something that I want to find out, this is something I'm working on with a few other people right now, a project is how did these initiatives spring up? So, some things, like I know, for example, the trash collection had started with Trevor, my friend who I mentioned earlier, had the idea and really rallied people. And then we had the shifts, and so upstairs, outside of 300 NE, we had schedules with who was going to be the food coordinator for... I think at that point we had split it up into morning and afternoon shifts roughly, and trash, and marshalling. So, those things... I mean, there were schedules up and people would come and sign 00:15:00up. A lot of people were being directed to 300 NE who wanted to volunteer, but didn't. They were just individuals, for example. "Where do I plug in?" So, a lot of it happened that way. The food... I don't know if it was initially organized or if some establishments just came in. There were people, there would be people just coming up to 300 NE asking, "What do I do with this food?" and we would take it, and then make it available, of course, to people. We had a table set up outside of the room where anyone in the Capitol could come. And of course, then there was another table on the second or first floor set up to make it easier for people to get food. But things like... This won't answer the how, but there was a whole section... what did they call it? Like the study room. I studied there one night; I had an exam the next day. Like the quiet area for studying. I 00:16:00don't know whose idea that was. And then the lending library, I'm not sure who set that up later, but it sprang up out of nowhere. The medic station was really well organized. What else did we have in there? We had so much. There were... I saw later, I thought about this idea, yoga classes going on as well. I mean, so many of these initiatives, and I think a lot of it was just people saw the need, and they realized that, "Well, who else is going to do it? I might as well do it." That certainly was the case with Trevor with the trash collection, and I think that was the case with the other efforts as well. It wasn't organized from the top. It was just, like I said, people got the ideas, saw the need, and took it upon themselves to do it rather than waiting for someone else to do. Like oh! I just remembered something else. Something that I thought it was really cool 00:17:00was... so, outside of the information booth, which was on West, there were signup sheets like for carpooling and for housing. There was also something on Facebook, which was to connect people from out of town with people with local housing, and I think most people were coming to town were sleeping at the Capitol. The idea, of course, was, you know, if you needed a shower, you could go somewhere for that. So, there were those initiatives as well, and each time it was amazing to see how the information station started with the table, with you know some flyers and stuff, and then really blew up to like have this center for... like it really became the place to go and get information on everything. There were just so many flyers there, and then hook up through those ways, through car shares, or you know housing or whatever. That was all there as well.
MM: Could you also describe in more detail the process of organizing media? What00:18:00were your main sources of information for things especially that you would put on the web or on Twitter? And did you have discussions as a group as to what you were going to put up or anything like that?
MK: What do you mean when you say "organizing media?"
MM: Like kind of taking, you know, whatever information was coming in anddeciding whether to post it, where it was coming from, that sort of thing.
MK: OK. So, there were a whole team of people, there was a whole team of peopleworking on media. And we would have meetings where we discussed, you know, future strategy. I mean, we were learning as we were going. So, a couple of people on the team had some experience in the past as journalists or in other 00:19:00capacities related to the media, but a lot of us didn't, you know? We're graduate students, who write a lot of essays and know how to make well-formulated arguments, but not necessarily in the way that media people do. So, a lot of... I mean, you asked "how do we decide which stories went up?" We didn't get together and then decide, you know, these are the sources that we're going to pull from. It was kind of what everyone reads on their own. We know, of course, that we're going to use our local papers like, you know, Cap Times and the Badger Herald and the Daily Cardinal and all that. So, we just kind of pulled from those sources. But also, things like Google has great, like you could set up those alerts where you get anything on the Wisconsin protests. So, it wasn't like a coordinated strategy, "we're going to pull from these sources." It was whatever we found to be a really informative story, we would pull. And 00:20:00then of course, we also started creating our own stories and sending out press releases. So, of course, we would post those and try to get that information out. And just recently, we added a blog to the website. This was all like the ideas that come, like one person will pitch it, or a few people will pitch it, and we decide together on a team how to move forward with the website. But like the actual stories, that's very much up to the individuals on the team, what they see as relevant. So, yeah. Like I said, it was a learning process, and we do as much as we can with the time that we have. And we look at really positive, we have been receiving really positive feedback on the website, and for a while I was doing the bulk of the email checking, and that... I mean, it seems like a 00:21:00tedious task, but it was really refreshing, I found because you would hear from people. We'd put things up on the website, and not necessarily we'd see, you know, "This many people visited the website today. This many people visited in a week." But the people that would actually write in, you would get a sense of, you know, what we're doing. So, we would get a lot of thank-yous, but also really inspiring letters, which we posted several of them, or many of them, in the Messages of Support section on the website, which was, you know, telling us how the bill's going to impact their life, how what we're doing here in Wisconsin impacts people elsewhere in the nation. So, we would get, you know, these stories. I mean, the letters people writing in would be from like elsewhere inside the US, but also even overseas. So, I believe we got some from the U.K, and I think Ireland as well. I mean, it's all out there. So, it was 00:22:00great to get this sense that there was this sense of solidarity not only across Wisconsin, but across the nation and also elsewhere in the world.
MM: Is there any letter in particular that you remember?
MK: There... Yes, actually, there are two, probably, that I would say, and onewas from this guy in Texas, and just the way he spoke, you know? He wrote, "You guys are doing such a dang good job out there, you know, and we support you!" Just the language that he was using, it just felt so real, you know? And it was great also to get it from a place like Texas, which we normally you know, associate with more conservative politics and values, and so that one stood out. 00:23:00I mean, just the phrasing. The other one that really stood out was a teacher here in Wisconsin sent a long letter, which was outlining pretty much her day as a teacher. It was in response to the bill, obviously, and how, you know, teachers do a lot. They really do. Through educating our children, they're responsible for the future of the state in that way. So, she went through--and it was a very long piece--her entire day as a teacher and showing the various ways in which she helps her students, and her care for the students came out through the letter as well. And that's really one that I think a lot of people connected to, and I think that... So, we tweeted that one out, and it just kept 00:24:00getting retweeted, for example. I think people were really connecting to that story because it's one of those cases where you put a face on what's happening, you know? And a lot of us, of course, we know people, we know teachers, students, other public employees, who this bill will affect; This was just a way to articulate, in a very real sense, like who one of those people are for people maybe like outside state as well, who don't know... Well, of course they know their own teachers in their states. But it put a face on the bill.
MM: So, to kind of change gears a little bit, I'm curious if you had any kind ofexpectations for what this might be like when you started getting involved at the Capitol? Whether, I don't know, if you expected it to grow so big or last so long or if you were surprised in any way? Kind of what you thought would become of this, and how maybe that changed over time. 00:25:00
MK: Yeah, so I was definitely surprised. I don't know how many expectations Ihad in the beginning. It was more like that Tuesday, February 15th, when we came to give the testimony, the idea was--and I remember, you know, we were talking about this at the T.A.A. meeting or in some T.A.A. emails--like, "Guys, bring your sleeping bags; we may have to testify all night." I had the feeling that it would end, like the Capitol part would end that night. It would be a fun sleepover. I mean, fun with a purpose. It's not fun just for the sake of having a sleepover. It was towards a purpose, which was to express our discontent with the bill and to persuade lawmakers to not, you know, to vote down the bill. But... I guess I didn't think far ahead about how long. I didn't expect it to turn into an occupation of the Capitol. I don't think anyone did, or very few people, at least, did. No one that I know certainly thought that it would turn 00:26:00into what it turned into. So, it was one of those... I guess I just had a very short term vision for it, and then it turned into what it turned into, which was weeks and weeks long occupation and protests that turned out tens of thousands, and on some occasions, even though the official numbers didn't show it, I could assure you, and some publications will say, over one hundred thousand people. I mean, so... I also didn't expect, you know, to take more, I guess, a negative approach to it. The governor to act or to respond in the way that he did, pretty much like ignoring public opinion while claiming to be listening to the public, and yet ignoring the voices of those tens of thousands of people that would show up, and those thousands of people that would be at the Capitol every day, not 00:27:00just on the Saturday rallies. So, that was something as well that I... I guess everything that unfolded surprised me; it's like you thought that it couldn't get any worse, and then it does. Like you get... You know, they split the bill, and then they're going to vote on the nonfinancial part of it, and meanwhile, that was when things started returning to normal. And I'm involved in this other project on campus that's opening a cafe, and I was there working that day, and we get a tweet, and it's like, "Show up at the Capitol, you know, they're going to vote on this tonight." That's another like really surprising thing; totally didn't expect that to happen, right? And then, even when we showed up that night, I didn't expect to be sleeping there that night. I mean, all of this has been really organic. Some things, of course, you can plan ahead to Saturday rallies, but a lot of what happened wasn't foreseen, or couldn't be foreseen, 00:28:00and for a lot of the things that we did were like reactions to the governor's actions. So, I mean, another surprising thing--I can think of so many examples, right?--when Judge Sumi put the restraining order on the bill, or on the law, you know, after it was passed, and then they published it anyways. This is all what I'm saying kept fueling me to come back is like this total disregard for the democratic process and the judicial system. I mean, I am still having a hard time grasping that this has gone... that they feel that they when I say they, I mean the governor and many of the Republicans. Not all of them; Schultz is one of the exceptions, right feel that they could act this way and not be 00:29:00accountable to the public who elected them. So, I keep being surprised day to day with the Supreme Court elections. I mean, like it just keeps going on, but to end maybe on a positive note, this comment, I was surprised. As I was saying earlier, I was talking about all those initiatives that sprung up. I guess I was really surprised at the way that people come together and form a community so quickly as well, and such a strong one, you know? I just moved here in the fall in August, really, to begin graduate school here I'm in the sociology program, and so I mean, still, by the time this started in February, still getting adjusted. I feel pretty comfortable, but, you know, it's not as if I've been here for years and years, and it wasn't just getting adjusted to the state, it was getting adjusted to the country as well. It's a whole other country. So, I 00:30:00mean, before then, I felt connected to Madison, but not connected in the same way that I feel now. You know, that sense of real solidarity, like I'm in this with you, alright. There's so much that line between like me and them, like Wisconsinites, right? I identify as one. I'm a Sconnie now, too, you know? So, on the positive note, like all those things that happened--the grassroots initiatives, the self-organizing community that came out of, that formed inside the Capitol, but also like the community across the state, like the sort of connecting to people you don't even know, like to see face-to-face, like to be able to give a pat on the back at Saturday rallies, or like share a smile, or like to talk about it--like it's transformed the city, you know? You can't go anywhere, so for those couple of weeks when I would run to campus, when I had to 00:31:00get to class or something like, you're away from the Capitol, but you're not away from the Capitol because everyone's talking about it. So, I remember getting on the bus, and for the whole--I never took a seat--the whole time, I was talking to the bus driver on the way to campus one day, like about how this is going to affect public transit and his job as well. So, I mean, it created this whole like, outside of just Capitol Square, I think that Madison really came together. And I mean, I say Madison because I was here in Madison. I'm sure this was happening across the state, and that was something that I guess was surprising. And also, you just don't spend time thinking about. A lot of the focus is on the politics, right, and defeating the bill. But it's just all of those processes are really amazing, and I think that that's transformed the 00:32:00city, and that vibe is still in the air now and that's what keeps people coming out, now more focused on Saturdays. But it's still here, very much among us.
MM: OK, to kind of tag along on that, you had said earlier that it's been kindof weird getting back into your "normal life," and that you kind of miss being in the Capitol. So, I'm just curious, do you think that in addition to this kind of transform in the city that you have also changed as a person in some way by being affected by this?
MK: Yeah, that's an interesting question. I guess, it's almost still too soon tosay because it's hard to really sit back and reflect on how it's impacted me. I mean, there are obvious ways that it has, I think, but I think like longer term that'll come out as time goes on. I mean, the transition, like I said earlier, 00:33:00and like you asked right now in your question, was it difficult going from being around people 24 hours a day pretty much... you know, I would go home. I would pop into my house like an hour, hour and a half to shower, and then run back up. And this, of course, nothing with the politics, just like the social aspect of it that was... it was definitely like withdraw. It felt very odd sitting at home--I live alone in my apartment--sitting at home in silence that first night was just like... I experienced that in a very odd way. You definitely miss that community. Like that's one thing. Like I guess I realized how... me, the sociologist, finally realized how social of a being I am. Of course, we're social beings, but that... I mean, it was nice, don't get me wrong, to like not 00:34:00sleep on a cold marble floor. But yeah, that definitely, I guess that was one self-realization that I had. And like I had mentioned just a few minutes ago about feeling more connected to the state, and I think even the country, like that's something that I really find. Like before, for example, there was a lot of the singing of the national anthem in the Rotunda, and as a Canadian, I mean, that part sometimes I would feel excluded, especially at the beginning of the protests when that would happen. In a sense, you know, can't really take part, or I mean, of course I could sing it, but I felt still a dividing line there, but as time went on and these protests grew, I felt more comfortable in that situation, and I think that's like one of these things where I'm coming to identify more like... Like I'm not just here for school. Of course, I came here 00:35:00to enroll in the graduate program, and you know, to get a degree from this institution, and I likely won't stay in the state because of the way that hiring practices work in academia, but I feel connected; it's not a place that I'm passing through anymore, at least I don't see it that way. It's like a place where I will live, and I will carry memories from Wisconsin on with me, and I feel more like a Wisconsinite. So, that's definitely, I would say, like the key transformation for me with the protests.
MM: Do you think there's any kind of larger message that you'll remember aboutthis when you look back on it from some distance? Like what seems kind of most important to you just about this whole thing at the moment? 00:36:00
MK: Again, the story isn't finished, right? So, it's still ongoing. And in asense, stories are never finished. But it's still very much developing. But based on what's gone on so far, I mean, I think I would... I again, although they're not completely separable, but I guess in an analytic way they are, the political from the social, so of course, like the content of all those that I'll remember, like the protests and like the content of it. Well, I won't remember all the content of the bill. But do you know what I mean? The protesting against this bill, like the impact that the bill would have on society, on members of society. There's that whole asset, which I mean, that's been documented enough, but what I'll take away is more of, I was saying earlier, the coming together of 00:37:00people. I mean, a lot of times, people talk about these ages being like an age of apathetic young people, for example. We don't really care about politics, aren't involved, and I think this really showed that we do have a stake. We do care... about the state, about the bill, about what goes on. That'll come together; that'll stay with me, the coming together of people in a just cause. That's really what I'll carry on with me, apart from like the content of the bill and how outrageous it is and how it's totally setting back Wisconsin, you know, half a century or more even. So, it's the human aspect that'll stay with me. Like I've been saying, the coming together, the really like fighting... 00:38:00there's a lot of talk in--I mean, of course, Canada's democratic, too--but there's a lot of talk in America, like in common rhetoric about democracy and, you know, the founding fathers and all that, and this just seems to me like one expression of that like really like fundamental ideal in American life, and in a lot of the Western world, but I would say especially in American life. It is beautiful to see citizens coming together to fight for--and in many ways this is like a fight for democracy because of what I was saying earlier with Governor Walker totally disregarding the judicial process and his constituents. It's just great to see that it's still working. Like, people will come out. We won't be 00:39:00silenced, you know? And people are still coming. I still go around the Capitol, and there are people day in and day out, not in the same numbers as before, but like going around and protesting, and we won't forget about it, and it's just this continued fight and struggle. I think that's something, again, that I'll carry with me for a long time.
MM: And this might be, kind of end up with the same answer, but what would youwant to be remembered about this by other people, maybe people who weren't necessarily involved or didn't experience this first hand? What do you think is important about this to be communicated for generations?
MK: So maybe, to not repeat myself and not focusing on the social side, which Ithink is a really important aspect, I think of this moment, and again we don't know what the outcome will be--well, the bill has been passed, I mean-- like 00:40:00will it be reversed next year? Will we manage to recall Walker and have elections and then reverse the contents of the bill? If we do succeed in that, I think that what happened shouldn't be forgotten. That, you know these rights that we almost have come--I know I have come to take for granted because they're there, and of course they'll be there--it's important to remember, and I hope that people do remember that democracy is something that you work at; it's not something to be taken for granted as something that will just be there. It's definitely something that, you know, can be taken away from you almost at any moment, I mean. And it certainly did. It blindsided me, and I think a lot of other people didn't foresee these changes when Governor Walker was elected, but certainly not when he was running his campaign. And so, it's something to 00:41:00remember that, right, you have to keep working at this, to not take it for granted, and I hope that that message stays with people. And there's also, like for the history of labor, like remembering this moment, and the progressive history of Wisconsin and what this means for that progressive history. And like I said, even if we are able to like repeal the bill in a year's time, in two years' time, remembering this moment and this attack and allowing that then to fuel, hopefully, people to come out and to vote. That's something we saw with the Supreme Court elections just a couple weeks ago, right, is the continued necessity to come out and vote at the polls, but also like apart from when there are elections, to be involved in democratic process. Like go in, you know, give 00:42:00public testimonies on bills, like make those voices heard for lawmakers to listen to you, and if they don't listen to you, you know, then get them out, right? And make sure that someone that is accountable to the public or feels accountable to the public is in office.
MM: OK. Well, that's all the questions I have.
MM: Alright, thank you very much.
MK: Thank you.
End of Interview #1130