Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's Coming...

Last night, a group of us at Students for a Fair Wisconsin went out chalking for the first time this fall. We had a great turn out and a fantastic time chalking for our kickoff. And our chalking looked fabulous - like this one on State Street Mall:

Chalking

Chalking on State Street Mall.


It says:
Extreme politicians have been playing politics with the lives of real people for too long!
  • In 19 states, they forced anti-gay amendments on the ballot to get re-elected.

  • In 19 states, they tried to turn people against each other.

  • In 19 states, it worked.

  • This November, it stops here.
We have the power to make history.

Students for a Fair Wisconsin

Kicks off
Thursday, September 7
7:30 pm, TITU

Be there.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oodles of Updates

As mentioned here, a lot of new things have been happening with Students for a Fair Wisconsin lately. It has been a hectic couple of weeks, and with all the new developments, we haven’t had much time to transition and update the blog. But the new blog is finally here (along with some updates to the old website while we await the new one), and here are some highlights from the past two weeks:

  • Fair Wisconsin has hired Andy Gordon to coordinate the campus campaign in Madison. He comes to our group with experience as a volunteer and intern Democratic Candidates, the Communications Chair of the College Democrats of Madison, and past involvement with ASM as a student council representative and slate organizer.

  • Our good friend Eli Judge, meanwhile, has stepped up as the Chair for Students for a Fair Wisconsin and is excited to build upon the great work Students for Equality did last semester. He and Andy have already been working diligently, crafting a fantastic fall campaign. Together, they bring an unrelenting energy and passion to the campus campaign and are going to do a terrific job ensuring that every student has heard about the proposed ban and why they should vote no on November 7.

  • In other campus news, Fair Wisconsin has also hired Erika Grace Nelson to coordinate the Milwaukee-area campuses and Andrew Moe to coordinate statewide on the La Crosse, Eau Claire, Stout, River Falls, Stevens Point, Oshkosh and Whitewater campuses. Both are doing tremendous work to educate and mobilize students throughout Wisconsin.

  • As for the blog – I will be working with a few others on campus media this fall. We plan to saturate campus newspapers statewide with features, letters, and editorials about the proposed ban and its harmful effects on students. Alongside these efforts, we will continue to blog with updates from the campuses throughout the state and with exciting news and developments both inside and outside the campaign. We will still be here, and we hope to post more frequently and more broadly – expanding beyond the boundaries of the Madison campus.

Finally, our update would not be complete without mentioning the terrific press students received in today’s Capital Times. Judith Davidoff’s piece, Swing Votes: Young People and the Same-sex Marriage Ban, discusses the importance of students statewide in defeating the ban. In the article, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor, Kathy Cramer Walsh describes the enormous significance of the student vote: “I think the campus vote statewide will be the deciding factor.”

Davidoff also quotes our own Eli Judge quite extensively:

"I have never been more passionate about a subject in my life," says Judge.

A native of Illinois, Judge says he could see himself settling down in Madison after college, but not if the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage passes.

"What I see here is someone openly attacking my way of life and my ability to raise a family here," says Judge, who is gay. "I can't do that effectively if this amendment passes."

[…]

Judge says that he and many of his straight and gay contemporaries take political interference into their right to marry as a "personal insult."

"That's why people are starting to come out like armies opposed to this amendment," he says.

Indeed, armies are what we plan to have. This is the civil rights issue of our generation, and we plan to come out in full force to show the state of Wisconsin, our country, and the world that we will not put up with discrimination and that we will not accept the extreme, far-reaching consequences of this ban.

We have 74 more days, and we will work indefatigably to turn out enough students to defeat this ban.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And Finally, Some News

As you may have noticed here, some changes have been underway with Students for Equality. Most importantly, we have officially changed our name to Students for a Fair Wisconsin. We will also soon have a full-time campus organizer in Madison, and we continue to grow our group and our efforts statewide. We have a new facebook group and will be working to secure a new email address and create a new website.

As we transition, you can continue to use the current (old) website and email. We will be sure to take care of all the forwarding work, so nothing will be lost. And I must ask again: please pardon our dust as we transition and get things up and running.

We’re gearing up for a terrific fall, and we’re going to take campus by storm. Stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dear Friends...

Two days ago I got back from being a camp counselor in Western Michigan. It was my eighth summer up there, so there wasn't much surprise as to the layout or expectations of the camp. When I was leading, I taught a small class that debated different controversial issues in the US political scene. Things like abortion, gun control, and the death penalty all led to passionate discussion, even with 13 year old boys sharing their own personal convictions. The sides were usually split half and half; some taking the more "conservative" stance, the others the more "progressive."

What does this have to do with Students for Equality? On the last day, we were supposed to discuss gay marriage, but not one single camper believed that gays didn't deserve all of the rights and responsibilities that straight couples enjoy. It was the only topic we discussed where a unanimous opinion was reached.

As the fall season gears up, and the SFE crew starts getting ready for the long fight we've got over the next couple months, it gives me confidence to see that these young people already understand the need for equality. It also gives me motivation by reminding myself that our efforts, now, could very well save them a longer struggle later in time.

We've got a golden opportunity. Have you recently said "I wish I was more active" or "They've got a point" or even "I don't agree with gays getting married, but the amendment just goes to far!"? Then now is your time.

Students for Equality needs your help, but don't let that confuse you. It's those campers and the future families of Wisconsin that you will be fighting for.

"Once again into the breach, dear friends." Henry V III.I.1