Combating Militarism – Letters to the Editor

Publishing letters to the editor is a great way to insert your voice and the voice of our Campaign into the public debate around the country. In most newspapers, the letter to the editor is the first or second most read section of the paper. A simple search of the newspaper and letters to the editor usually will turn up the process for submitting a letter. 

Letters should be

  • Short — between 150 and 300 words (most newspapers have limits)
  • Personal — include something about yourself and why this issue is important to you
  • Be exclusive to the newspaper — don’t submit the letter to more than one newspaper
  • Have a connection to something the newspaper has written about
  • Written by people with patience and persistence as it may take 3 or 4 tries for success

Below is a set of talking points to help you draft a Letter to the Editor to submit to your local paper. Send these out one week before April 4, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Beyond Vietnam” speech. Be sure to include your name, address and contact information at the bottom. 

  • 53 yrs ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his Beyond Vietnam speech connecting the injustices of racism, militarism and economic exploitation. I  write as a part of [name PPC State Campaign].  We believe that Dr. King’s words are as true today as they were half a century ago and we’re organizing a March on Washington on June 20, 2020 to raise up our voices against these evils today.  
  • (Pick one or two) These injustices continue in my community today
    • In the economic distress and hardship we live — describe
    • In the systemic racism we experience — tell a story
    • In the taxes we pay for the Pentagon that could have gone to pay for [better schools or clean water etc] for my own children or my neighbor’s children
    • In the violence that we confront everywhere — describe a situation of police violence, violence of poverty, etc.  
  •  (Pick one) These injustice continue in the United States as well  
    • 140 million people are poor and low-income, while 3 people own more wealth than the bottom half of the country;
    • we have fewer voting rights than in 1965 and at least 25 states have passed voter suppression laws in the past 10 years;
    • 14 million families can’t afford water; 
    • and 53 cents out of every federal discretionary dollar goes to the military, while only 15 cents goes to anti-poverty programs.
  • In 1968, Dr. King declared “A country that spends more on military defense than programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” He called for “a revolution of values” to redress this misappropriation of resources and put our country back on track. The Poor People’s Campaign is taking up this call and going to Washington, D.C. on June 20, 2020, because we have no choice but to come. Join us. Let us know how your letters get published. Or join one of our national policy calls to learn more about writing your own letter.