Media Contact

Steve Kilar, 602-773-6007,

April 11, 2018

Artistic collaboration is part of the ACLU of Arizona’s Demand to Learn campaign for equity in education


PHOENIX—Rising Youth Theatre and the ACLU of Arizona will later this month present an original theatrical production highlighting injustice and discrimination within Arizona’s education system.

Rising Youth Theatre created The 100th Day in partnership with the ACLU of Arizona’s Demand to Learn campaign, which is focused on eliminating policies and practices that push children out of school or prevent them from enrolling.

The 100th Day will debut Friday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Phoenix Coding Academy, 4445 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012. There will be additional performances on Saturday, April 21, at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 22, at 4:00 p.m.

Seats can be reserved for free at Donations to Rising Youth Theatre are encouraged with the reservation of a ticket.

The play takes place on the 100th day of school, a date that is important in the formula for determining how much money Arizona schools get from the state, and examines the ways some young people are prevented from accessing a quality education. Over the course of ten months, an artistic ensemble of youth and adults investigated—by talking to students and their educators, parents, and administrators—the reasons why young people are pushed or kept out of school in Maricopa County and used their findings to develop this immersive theatrical experience.

“Keeping students in school is an important part of creating a smarter criminal justice system,” said Anabel Maldonado, an ACLU of Arizona organizer who worked with the ensemble members during the play’s development. “Student suspensions and expulsions lead to a greater likelihood of drop out, which in turn leads to a greater chance of interacting with the juvenile justice system.”

Many of the ensemble members have a first-hand understanding of what it feels like when not all students have an equal opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive environment.

“People with power want to decide our future from test scores, but we are here to tell them that we are more than our test scores,” said Paula Ortega, who will perform in The 100th Day.

Ortega, 18, said she struggled in school until she found direction by working with Rising Youth Theatre. She hopes the production will empower other students.

“By speaking our truth, we are learning, experiencing, and shaping the world around us. We are standing up for ourselves and other youth,” she said.

To learn more about the ACLU of Arizona’s Demand to Learn Campaign, visit To learn more about Rising Youth Theatre, visit