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Learning Goal: I’m working on a english discussion question and need a sample draft to help me learn.


In this class we have looked at numerous data and statistics related to health disparities, and have evaluated the different types of social justice and health disparities issues. We have also looked at ways in which we can be advocates for change. Now it is time to apply these new advocacy skills on an issue of your choice!

Your Tasks

Task 1- Decisions, Decisions

Decide Your Topic

You will need to pick a topic related to anything that we have gone over in the course.

Here are some ideas to help guide your decision:

  • Explore trending events/topics in the news
    • What are news reporters currently focusing on? Oftentimes politicians are also focusing on these issues.
    • Examples of news sources: CalMatters, NPR, CNN, Fox, BBC, MSNBC, and etc.
  • Research proposed/recently passed bills
    • What are some issues that legislatures have recently voted on or will be voting on soon?
    • Examples of where to find this information: ,

Decide Who You Will Write To

Next, you will need to decide who to write your letter to. It is recommended that you:

  1. Write to the legislator that represents your district and/or
  2. Write to a legislator who works on the topic you’re writing about.

CalMatters has a new tool that allows you to find your legislator, as well as identify legislators who work on key topics. You can access this information on their page, .

Please see the for their contact information.

Task 2- Rough Draft

Next you will create a rough draft of your letter. Your letter can express one of the following:

  • You are angry about something, and want others to know it
  • You think that an issue is so important that you have to speak out
  • Part of your group’s strategy is to persuade others to take a specific action

Or you want to:

  • Suggest an idea to others
  • Influence public opinion
  • Educate the general public on a specific matter
  • Influence policy-makers or elected officials directly or indirectly
  • Publicize the work of your group and attract volunteers or program participants

Please refer to the guidelines found in , which can be found on the next page. General guidelines can also be found in the powerpoint presentation preceding this assignment.

You only need to submit the letter, not the project reflection. Points for this task will be based solely on whether or not you submitted a draft. (10 points)

Task 3- Peer Response

Once you have completed and submitted your draft to the assignment page, you will complete 2 anonymous peer responses. You will provide the following feedback to your assigned peers:

  • How closely they followed the format provided in the guidelines.
  • Strengths of their letter
  • Areas that need to be improved in their letter
  • Spelling/grammatical errors

The names of your classmates will remain anonymous. lease use the attached rubric as a basis for your feedback. Grades given by students will not be accounted for in the final submission of the project at the end of this course.

This task is worth 20 points, 10 per peer review completed.

Unsure how to submit a peer review? Canvas Community has a guide with a step-by-step explanation on .

Decide on the Recipient

Get the name, title, and address of the official who will make the decision about your issue. Watch to make sure that all names are spelled correctly and that you have the proper address. An incorrect name counts against you. An incorrect address may mean your letter might not arrive at all.

If youre concerned with politics or issues at all, you should make it your business to know the names and contact information (address, office phone, and e-mail) of all those who represent you, from the most local to the federal government. In the U.S., at least, you can get to know your representatives at any level of government if you make the effort. If youre an activist, you may meet with them, or at least speak to them or their aides fairly regularly. If thats the case, letters from you will be taken seriously.

Open the Letter in an Official Manner

If you are writing to an elected official, show respect for the position by using the title of the office, and the official’s full name. In any other letter, use the familiar term “Dear,” the title Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, or Dr., and the official’s full name.

January 5, 2008
Title [Name of Representative or Senator]
House of Representatives [OR] U.S. Senate
Office Address
Washington, D.C. 20515

Explain the Purpose for Your Letter

Let your reader know immediately what your letter is about. Tell him/her why you are concerned or pleased that a particular decision is being considered.

Example: The proposed increase in the gasoline tax will make the cost of transportation unreasonably high for commuters in the metropolitan area.

Summarize Your Understanding of the Issue/Decision Being Considered

State the general impact that you expect to occur if a particular decision is made.

Example: The creation of a peer-counseling program at our high school will help reduce the number of teen pregnancies in our community.

Explain Your Position on this Issue

Describe in detail why you feel the decision made will lead to the impact you foresee.

Example: This will provide opportunities for our high school students to discuss pressures they experience with their peers at this critical time in their lives.

Describe What Any Changes will Mean to You, and to Others

Describe specifically the positive or negative effects the decision will have on you personally and on those you represent. The more people affected by the decision, the more convincing you may be.

Example: This program will help provide career opportunities for teenagers in our community.

Identify Others Who may be Affected by this Decision

Tell the official which, and how many, people will be affected. Statistics can be very helpful here.

Example: A recent study showed that 80% of minors who smoke obtain cigarettes at stores that do not ask for any identification. Increased enforcement of the existing laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors could significantly reduce the rate of smoking among our youth.

Acknowledge Past Support

Mention appropriate actions and decisions the official has made in the past and express thanks for them.

Example: We appreciate your past support of the bill protecting the rights of emergency medical crews to not be tested for HIV.

Describe What Action You Hope the Official will Take

State specifically what action you (and those you represent) hope the official will take–and by what date, if there is a deadline.

Example: We hope you realize the best course of action to protect our community’s infants and young children is to vote “yes” to House Bill #689b.

If You have Written a Letter that Opposes Some Action, Offer an Alternative

Example: I believe that rather than increasing the number of police cars patrolling our neighborhood, a cheaper and more effective alternative would be to work with our community to develop a community-policing program.

If You have Time and You are Committed, Ask How You can Help

Example: Our group is more than willing to explore the various options in helping make our community a safer place to live.

Close and Sign Your Letter

Thank the official and sign your full name. Make sure your address, and phone number are included.

Check Your Letter for Spelling and Grammatical Errors

Correct spelling and grammar won’t do the job by themselves, but they can help. Why not give your letter every possible advantage?

Should you use email?

With the speed and ease of delivery, it’s common to use e-mail and send your correspondence via the computer. Doing so, particularly for formal letters, has several advantages:

  • It is much faster than normal mail. This also makes it possible for the official to respond much more quickly.
  • It saves the trouble of addressing an envelope, buying a stamp, and mailing your letter.
  • Electronic mail is less likely to get lost on the receiver’s desk.

However, note that the last can also be a disadvantage. Unless the recipient goes through the trouble to print your message, it may be gone with one tap of the delete key and out of mind as well. If you are going to use e-mail for your correspondence, be particularly clear and emphatic about your message from the beginning.