PHOENIX (KSAZ) - One of the more memorable moments of the entire #RedforED movement in Arizona was back in the beginning, when a Phoenix elementary school teacher posted her annual salary on social media.
The post, which quickly went viral, contradicted Governor Doug Ducey's assertion that the average teacher in Arizona makes nearly $48,000 a year.
"It is so amazing to be a part of this," said Elizabeth Milich. The 2nd Grade teacher is reflecting on some of the moments that got her and hundreds of thousands of educators to where they are now.
"Marching on last Thursday, and then everyday at the Capitol since," said Milich.
Milich said she was "just a piece of that puzzle", and the piece she added on the evening of March 8 was a picture of her paystub in a public Facebook post, with her annual salary over two years in fine print. She made a little over $35,000, with an expected $131 raise.
"Putting a picture to what teachers are saying when we say we're really underpaid," said Milich.
It also shed a light on some other harsh realities.
"So many people hide behind social media, where they can type out a really mean and hurtful comment," said Milich, who faced the backlash of a viral post. She was accused of being a whiner. at times a liar. Trolls even came for her appearance.
"Completely bashed the makeup I wear, calling me a Whoville," said Milich.
A very anxious Milich had to pull herself back
"The negative part, I wasn't prepared for," said Milich.
However, she was prepared for the moral support, as well as what would come after. Every mean comment, every shot at her character, outweighed by the amount of eyes opened to the purpose of this movement.
"It's all worth it in the end," said Milich.
#RedforED eventually became a movement more than 50,000 educators and supporters got behind, a cry to fix an education crisis, and a six-day walk out..
Now, Milich looks back at her piece to the puzzle: a changing post that rose above the noise, illusrating the story and defining the purpose.
"I really do think it was a catalyst for awareness of what we're actually talking about in Arizona," said Milich.