Like everyone else, you’re probably wondering WHAT CAN I DO? One thing you can do is to write a letter to the editor (LTE) to your local paper. It may not get published, but if a LOT of people write on the same issue, there’s a good chance some of those letters will get published.
Most papers limit the length of LTEs to 150-250 words. You can usually find the guidelines and a submission portal or email address on the Opinion page of your local paper’s website. If you are feeling REALLY motivated and have a lot to say, consider extending your letter into an op-ed, which has a more generous 600-700 word limit.
This is a sample letter to the editor on family separation at the border. Feel free to use it to help you craft your own. Please note, it includes elements that are common to successful LTEs:
- Facts to build an argument
- An emotional hook to pull the reader in
- A call to action to those in power & our fellow citizens
On May 6, Donald Trump chose to create a humanitarian and moral crisis by implementing a policy to have children of border-crossers taken from their parents. Since then, more than 2,000 children, including infants and children with disabilities, have been stolen away. All this to deter future border crossings and, more importantly, to use as leverage against Democrats.
Americans have risen to the challenge of this crisis, in part because, for now, the media has found the courage to call lies lies and stay focused. We have been horrified at the pictures of children being taken from their parents and put in cages. Our hearts have broken at the sounds of children in custody crying out for their parents, because we know their cries will go unanswered.
Trump bowed slightly to pressure, signing a vague order, mostly to relieve pressure from the media. At best, it will result in families being held in prison together, possibly for years. At worst, Trump will resume stealing children from their parents after the 20-day limit for family detention expires. Regardless, the order does nothing to reunite the families already torn apart. Trump created this crisis. He can and must choose to fix it. We must put even more pressure on to reverse the policy and reunite the children and parents. Remember, that little girl looking up at her mother still doesn’t know what’s happening. The children crying for their parents on the audio recording still haven’t been answered. This isn’t over.
Other topics you might want to build an LTE around:
- No compelling reason for instituting this policy.
- 99% of families given temporary status, plus a modicum of guidance, show up for their court hearing (plus it’s cheaper than detention): https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/images/zdocs/The-Real-Alternatives-to-Detention-FINAL-06-27-17.pdf
- Family detention is not a solution
- The law already limits it: https://supportkind.org/resources/flores-settlement-myth-v-fact/
- PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS AN OLD ARTICLE THAT SPEAKS TO THE PROBLEMS OF FAMILY DETENTION. Family detention is ongoing in the Karnes and Dilley detention centers, where mothers are incarcerated with their children
- The only winners are private prison companies, who donate to Trump