At 12:30 p.m. Monday, UW-Madison will join hundreds of campuses nationwide in participating in First Monday 2001: Unite to End Gun Violence, a national campaign promoting education and action to end gun violence.
Over 150 First Monday events will occur simultaneously across America.
First Monday is a national campaign started in 1994 by the Alliance for Justice president, Nan Aron. The campaigns highlight a new justice issue each year, with the goal of inspiring a new generation of advocates to pursue the cause of justice. The 2000-01 anti-gun campaign is First Monday’s largest campaign so far.
“[First Monday] started as a way to stress public interest careers to law students, and it evolved as a way to get advocacy and activism generated among students,” Simms said.
UW is involved in the campaign through the Law School. Sarah Ivory, the contact person for the campaign at UW, said the Public Interest Law Foundation has worked to bring First Monday to UW.
“It is natural that law students would sponsor First Monday,” Ivory said. “Gun violence is an issue which is addressed in court decisions and legislation at both the state and the federal level.”
The cornerstone event of the First Monday campaign is the film “Deadly Business,” which reveals the methods used by the gun industry in marketing its products.
“Deadly Business” will be shown at 12:30 p.m. in Lumbar Commons at the Law School. After the movie, there will be an open discussion.
Other events throughout the country will include speaker panels, rallies and forums, with some schools uniting with their communities and hosting much larger events. First Monday events will continue throughout the year.
“One of our main goals is a real commitment to advocacy and public involvement,” said Lisa Simms, national campaign manager for First Monday.
This year the campaign will unveil the formation of its on-line student network, “Gun Industry Watch,” a watchdog group designed to keep tabs on the practices of the gun industry. According to www.firstmonday.com, the Alliance for Justice and Physicians for Social Responsibility will help keep students informed and active with regularly e-mailed newsletters and action agendas.
“We are really excited about the next step, which is Gun Industry Watch,” Simms said. “This is a student watch really working at the next level; they will be writing letters and really doing some great advocacy work. I think this is really going to take off and is going to hold the gun industry accountable for [its] actions.”
First Monday for gun violence is a two-year campaign that began Oct. 2 with more than 350 events across the country. The campaign, coordinated by the Alliance for Justice and Physicians for Social Responsibility, is led by high school and college students and is dedicated to education and action to reduce gun violence.
The recent terrorist attacks will not affect the plans for First Monday, but promoters hope to raise a greater awareness of violence in general.
“We believe that as we pursue the issue of gun violence, our overall agenda is of ending violence across the country,” Simms said.
UW students can learn more about First Monday by visiting the campaign’s website at www.firstmonday.com.