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Call to Action: Write Opinion Editorials for local media outlets

Publishing opinion editorials is a great way to get the attention of your members of Congress. Sometimes it helps to gather a team of support in your initial attempts at writing an Opinion Editorial (Op Ed).

As you prepare to enter Lent and commit to some action, please consider inviting your friends, colleagues, PA Circle and/or parish group to gather together to write Op Eds. Make it a fun experience with snacks, drinks, and writing materials. To begin, it is helpful to “prime the pump,” and talk about your story. Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) provides some easy steps in telling your story.

  • Make it personal. You’re telling the story, not someone else. Use “I” and speak from your own experience,
  • Focus on the heart, not the head. A story is more than a list of facts. Talking about how you feel about the issue helps the listener connect,
  • Include a moral or value. Think about the overall themes related to the issue you care about. Can you apply universal values like justice, compassion, or equity, and
  • Make an ask. As you conclude your story, transition into your request for support (e.g., and that’s why I hope you’ll co-sponsor S. 1234).

Next, decide on the focus of your story. Will you focus on the impact of weather abnormalities on your local community? Will you focus on the health needs that arise from pollution? Will you write about the impact of agriculture and farming of animals? Each person needs to write a piece that tells a story – not just the facts. Here are some tips:

  • Keep it relevant: Use current events to draw the reader’s attention. Think of personal, meaningful stories of people you know who are affected by these current challenges,
  • Keep it short: Newspapers are most likely to publish letters to the editor that are short and make one succinct point (that are supported with facts or quotes from validators). Check the newspaper you’re submitting to for a word limit. If you can’t find a limit, keep it to 750 words or fewer for Op Eds,
  • Write from your own voice: Your piece is more likely to be published if it comes from your voice. Don’t be afraid to tell your story and to appeal to the audience from the heart as well as the head, and
  • Submit it to the newspaper: Submit the letter directly to the newspaper (most newspapers have an online submissions page) and follow up by phone or email if you don’t get a response within a week or two. Put the letter in the body of the email to make it easy for the editorial staff to read. As you submit your letter, don’t miss an opportunity to build a relationship with staff.

Finally, send a copy or more to the Climate Change Task Force in care of Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp.

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Sisters of Providence Political Engagement Team

The Sisters of Providence Political Engagement Team is an arm of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Climate Change Task Force. Members of the team are Sister Marilyn Kofler, Sister Barbara Battista and community friend Cynthia Sartor.

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