Write an action letter that advocates a policy change. Discussion of these in class also may deepen the focus and help anticipate opposing perspectives.
Choose an issue with which you have personal experience or background knowledge and on which you have a viewpoint. Choose also a person or organization you want to address; the more specific the better. (Examples include a legislator, a city mayor, the president of your university, a newspaper editor, and the head of a business.)
Your letter should include the following elements:
• Define the specific problem or issue you are addressing.
• Describe aspects of this issue that have gotten too little attention. This may include causes that have been overlooked. Cite sources of specific information.
• Advocate a specific, feasible course of action to address these aspects of the issue. Examples include a new policy, new practices or ways to carry out an existing policy, a new or modified community program, or research to analyze the issue further. Recognize that your ideas will have costs (e.g., money, time, collaboration among groups). Advocate your course of action assertively.
• Remember that the likelihood of close reading by your addressee decreases with each page. Be as succinct as you can but cover all the elements above. A suggested length is two pages double-spaced.
• It is your choice whether to actually send the letter or not.