It’s the one question we always get when someone new joins our letter writing meetings: how do I write an urgent action letter. They’re not hard to do, and here’s how you can do it so you can write letters in between our meetings, if you like. A letter can be done in a few short steps! All you need is the urgent action, a piece of paper, a writing utensil, and an envelope and stamp when you are finished writing.
1. Address the Recipient – At the top of the letter, write the name and address of the person to whom you are sending the letter. The name and address are found at the bottom of the urgent action. We will use this urgent action about homeless Haitians as our example If you were to write a letter on these people, you would start withe the name and address like this:
Laurent Lamothe, Primature d’HaÃ¯ti
33 Boulevard Harry Truman
Port-au-Prince, HAITI – HT-6110
2. Write the Letter – This is the toughest and scariest part for new letter writers, since have a hard time figuring out what to write. Fortunately, the urgent action provides bullet points of what should be said in the letter. This can be found right above the address, under the headline “Please Write Immediately.” Sometimes, the action might specify the letter to be written in specific languages, but if you only speak English, that’s okay. If the letter is about a specific person or persons, make sure to put their name in all capital letters and underline it when mentioning them in the letter. For the Haitian letter, since there’s no person in particular that’s mentioned, you don’t have to do this.
3. Sign and Address the Envelope – This is done like how you would sign and address any other letter and envelope.
4. Seal and Stamp the Letter – Also done like how you would stamp and mail any other letter. Just make sure to use an international stamp ($1.02) if sending a letter internationally. Mexico and Canada have their own rate (72 cents), and US letters would involve our normal stamps. The Haiti letter would use an international stamp.
5. Mail the Letter – Put it in the mailbox! You are done! Hopefully, you’ll get a response in several months. For more help and information on how to write and to send these letters, and what else you can do about the issue or the person, check out Amnesty’s Letter Writing Guide.
That’s really it! Not hard at all! And don’t worry so much about being eloquent and having perfect spelling and grammar. It’s not as if anyone is grading you on these letters! It’s more important that you take action and you write the letters in the first place. If you’re interested in writing a few letters, you could come to our next letter writing meeting, which is Sept. 25 at Hartford Coffee Company. The meeting promptly starts at 7 p.m.
Hope you’ll write a letter, or at least feel more comfortable sending your first one!