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Never underestimate the power of your voice!
You may COPY and PASTE this letter to the editor to your local newspaper, filling in details with the links provided to tailor it to your community. [NOTE: It is FINE to submit the same letter to multiple newspapers in most cases; only a few national papers like the New York Times and Washington Post require that your letter is exclusive to them. Newspapers will indicate this on their website.] You may also simply use this template as a guide, editing the letter however you see fit for your local newspaper.
To submit your letter, go to your chosen newspaper's opinion page for instructions (some have an online form, others prefer them emailed). For some newspapers, you may need to shorten the letter to fit within a specified word count.
[IF POSSIBLE, REFERENCE A RELATED ARTICLE IN YOUR CURRENT PAPER AND/OR A CURRENT LOCAL NEWS STORY, SUCH AS THIS ONE, AS A HOOK]
Almost 800,000 young people in our country are facing a grave threat to their lives in addition to COVID-19. The Supreme Court is about to rule on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields young people who were brought into this country as children from deportation. DACA recipients are at risk of deportation if the Supreme Court ends DACA, being forced to leave the country they call home – the place where they have grown up, and attended school, and now pursue higher education, work (including almost 30,000 in health care), have families, and pay taxes. There are [NUMBER, LOOK UP HERE] living in [YOUR STATE], and on average, and they contribute over [NUMBER, LOOK UP HERE] per year in state and local taxes.
In the middle of this global pandemic, DACA recipients shouldn’t have to worry about losing their jobs or health care, let alone face deportation. Now more than ever, this virus has shown us that we are dependent on each other. In fact, many professionals, including community psychologists have recently illustrated how the broader community suffers negative consequences when someone is deported. No matter where we come from, we ALL need to come together and demand fair treatment for DACA recipients. You can sign a petition to request the Trump Administration to automatically renew DACA permits expiring in 2020 and stop attacks at the Supreme Court at https://unitedwedream.org/renewdaca/.
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]
[Note: The newspaper will publish your city and state; they will not publish your full address nor your phone number, but an editor may use it to verify your identity and potentially contact you prior to publication.] Editors will not always tell you if they have chosen your piece for publication, so check the opinion section of the newspaper often!
If you want to take the next step, try your hand at writing an op-ed. An op-ed is a longer opinion piece (usually 500 to 800 words) that must be exclusive to the outlet (i.e., it is copyrighted by the newspaper itself), so you cannot copy and paste. You can learn more about writing op-eds here. We have attached two example op-eds, produced by Regina Langhout and myself, to this email as sample guides. Other community psychologists have written op-eds that they have submitted for publication, and with their permission, we will share them with you for inspiration as they are published.