Ali Muldrow and Ananda Mirilli felt quite a bit of isolation as women of color running for the Madison School Board in previous races in which they lost. This time around, they teamed up – and ran a very unique and innovative joint school board campaign where they used a collaborative approach to their prospective school board runs.

Both women were victorious last night in their respective Madison School Board elections, so their hard work paid off and their unique joint campaign effort has to be considered a success.

Ananda Mirilli and Ali Muldrow celebrate big primary election wins together.

“I think what we asserted is that you can challenge the status quo in terms of the way you run a campaign,” Muldrow tells Madison365. “I think that we brought a divergent and creative approach to running a campaign.”

It’s the second school board campaign for both women. Muldrow, a parent, partner, writer, instructor, advocate, and doula who currently serves as co-executive director of the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE), ran an impressive campaign with thoughtful solutions to Madison’s racial disparities in education two years ago before losing to Kate Toews in the general election.

Mirilli, currently an education equity consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, ran a strong campaign in 2013 also focusing on racial disparity issues, but fell in the primary to TJ Mertz and Sarah Manski.

But this time around, it was a little bit different for both women knowing that they had somebody nearby all the time who always had each other’s backs.

Ali Muldrow [left] and Ananda Mirilli share some coffee at Muldrow’s kitchen table.

“Just being able to get to know Ali and to share ourselves and our families with each other has been amazing. We have been together like all of the time. I’ve really fallen in love with everything that she represents and what she stands for,” Mirilli says. “I really wanted her to win and be on the board. We really pulled hard for each other. I think it was really just beautiful to feel that.”

The sisterhood that they formed over the campaign will continue on to the school board where, after last night’s election, all seven Madison School Board seats will be held by women for the first time.

“I think that whether or not it was more effective in the more traditional sense, it was inspiring,” Muldrow says. “I was inspired by it and Ananda really inspired me.”