Rise4Suwayda Op-ed Toolkit
The Situation in Suwayda:
Suwayda protestors have rekindled the peaceful movement in Syria, fervently demanding an end to the Assad regime and the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. Their courage and resilience are inspiring as they strive for a brighter and more just future for their homeland. The protestors have once again solidified that there is no future for Syria with Assad - that despite the violence, displacement, detainment, and more, the people of Syria will always reject Assad’s rule.
The protestors in Suwayda have made their requests clear: they want the diaspora and the global community to ensure their voices are heard. They rely on us to raise awareness, advocate for their cause, and pressure governments and international bodies to condemn the Syrian government’s use of violence. It is our responsibility to stand with them in solidarity.
Introducing the #Rise4Suwayda Campaign:
This week, we are thrilled to launch the #Rise4Suwayda campaign, a multifaceted effort to amplify the voices of the Suwayda protestors and support their quest for a brighter future in Syria. Our campaign will include grassroots activities, strategic communications, and government relations efforts to make a meaningful impact. And we need your help!
How You Can Contribute:
We encourage our community to participate in the #SuwaydaSolidarity campaign by writing local op-eds.
The word “op-ed” is short for “opposite the editorial page” or “opinion editorial. Typically, op-eds express the opinion of and are written by an author who is not associated with the publication. Op-eds are a powerful way to share your perspectives and insights with the local community through media outlets. When op-eds are written by authors with diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences, they help make the news we consume more representative.
This toolkit will provide a step-by-step guide on how to reach out to local media and successfully place op-eds effectively. Your op-eds will raise awareness, engage the public, and urge policymakers to act. Here's how you can get involved:
Define Your Message:
Choose a specific aspect of the Suwayda situation that resonates with you. Some ideas include:
- The revival of the peaceful movement
- Suwayda is a Druze-majority district which rejects Assad’s claim that those who stand against him are Islamic terrorists
- The role of women in organizing the movement
- Consider how your op-ed can contribute to the #Rise4Suwayda campaign's goals, focusing on amplifying the demands of the people of Suwayda.
- Craft a clear and compelling message that aligns with the protestors' demands.
Choose a Local Publication:
- Research local newspapers, magazines, online publications, and radio/TV stations that accept op-eds.
- List potential outlets that align with the Syrian American Council's mission and have a readership or viewership in your area.
- Look for outlets that have published op-eds related to your issue in the past.
- Check their submission guidelines, deadlines, and contact information.
Develop a Compelling Op-Ed: Write a persuasive op-ed highlighting the situation in Suwayda, the demands of the protestors, and why your fellow Americans need to pay attention to what is happening.
- Start with a compelling headline that grabs readers' attention and connects with the Suwayda situation.
- Connect your perspective to the broader human rights and justice theme.
- Mention the work the Syrian American Council and the American Coalition for Syria do to elevate voices from the ground.
- If you have a personal connection to Syria or the Syrian diaspora, consider sharing your experiences and emotions. Personal stories can be incredibly impactful. If you are a leader in your local community, mention it here!
- Use a clear and concise writing style that resonates with your local community.
- Support your points with facts.
- Conclude with a call to action encouraging readers to support the #Rise4Suwayda campaign. Include relevant hashtags (add) and links to our website and social media accounts (add).
Follow Recommended Structure:
- Lede: A lede is a relevant hook at the beginning of an op-ed, even within its first few sentences. The lede grabs readers’ attention and pulls them in to continue reading.
- Main Point: The main point of an op-ed is the central argument that readers should understand and take away from the piece. It should be clear, concise, and near the beginning so readers know the author’s point.
- Sub-Points: An op-ed's sub-points (about three) should support the main point. Each sub-point should bolster the main topic and add researched evidence or personal examples that give the author credibility to speak on this issue.
- Counter Argument: The counterargument is an opportunity to anticipate and dismantle the opposing opinion. Before including a counterargument, evaluate whether it is worth giving it further air time.
- Conclusion: The conclusion should not only hearken back to the main point of the op-ed but should also include a call to action that tells readers what they should do now that they have been convinced of your argument.
- Write no more than 750 words
- Write short sentences and paragraphs in the active voice
- Make a single point clearly and persuasively in the first couple of sentences
- Address why the reader should care by answering, “So what?”
- Use colorful examples, especially from your own experiences
- Play up your local connection to the media outlet and its readers
- Follow a desired media outlet’s submission guidelines when submitting your op-ed
What to Avoid:
Personal essays that do not make an argument are generally not op-eds. Even if the op-ed includes a personal story, it should have a point to make — something readers can consider.
Journalistic investigations without an argument are not op-eds. Poems and works of fiction usually are not op-eds either. Neither are books, movies, television shows, or other media reviews.
Op-eds also are meant to be something other than a tool for public relations. An op-ed should serve readers, not the interests of the author.
Send to SAC for Edits:
- We are here to help! Once you have a first draft, please send it to Jenny at [email protected]. We can guide you through refining your process and fact-checking any details.
Craft Your Pitch:
- Write a concise pitch email or letter introducing your op-ed to the chosen media outlets.
- Address the editor by name, if possible.
- Highlight the local relevance of your op-ed and its connection to the global #Rise4Suwayda campaign.
Submit Your Op-Ed:
- Attach your op-ed as a document or include it in the body of the email.
- Offer to provide additional information or interviews if requested.
- Follow the submission guidelines of your chosen publication and ensure your op-ed adheres to its word limit and formatting requirements.
- If you are still waiting for a response within a reasonable time frame, send a polite and professional follow-up email.
Share Widely: Once your op-ed is published, share it across your social media networks and encourage others to do the same. The more people who read and share your op-ed, the greater the impact.
Important Dates and Resources:
The #Rise4Suwayda campaign will run from September 27- October 10th
Campaign Website: https://www.sacouncil.com/rise4suwayda
Campaign Hashtags: #Rise4Suwayda and #TheRevolutionContinues
- Commitment to peaceful demonstrations
- A united front of diverse participants (including Sunni Bedouin tribal delegations visiting Druze-majority demonstrations in the villages)
- Endorsement by both intellectual/activist class and religious communities
- Challenges posed by the regime’s divisive strategies (New Arab)
- A lack of international support
- International media support should be heightened to offer an unfiltered lens into the protestors’ peaceful endeavors and challenges.
- Protection for protestors must be a priority to counteract the regime’s intimidating and divisive strategies.
- A focus on the accurate narrative of the Syrian Revolution is essential to debunk the propagated “civil war” concept. The conflict is between a brutal regime and a diverse populace seeking change.
Need help getting started? Please email Jenny Lindell at [email protected]. Thank you for your dedication, passion, and commitment to a free Syria. We look forward to seeing your op-eds.