Below are three writing samples. The first is one of many press releases I drafted for Faiths United. The second is an email “ask” I designed for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids as part of the Kids Can’t Wait campaign, which performed very well due to the strong message and visual (proof that not every communication needs to be paragraphs long.) And the third is a full “run of show” for a press event I coordinated in June 2015, including all the various speakers’ talking points.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2013
Vincent DeMarco, 410-591-9162
*** PRESS RELEASE ***
On One-Year Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, National Religious Leaders Demand Political Leaders Take Action to Prevent Gun Violence
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence Renews Call for Background Checks for All Gun Sales
Washington, DC—A year after the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, national religious leaders sent a letter today to Congress, calling for urgent action to respond to the gun violence crisis in our country. The letter, signed by 47 national religious leaders representing over 80 million Americans includes an enormous breadth of faith traditions including United Methodists, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Sojourners, the Islamic Society of North America, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and dozens more.
“Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence strongly urges Congress to act today on reasonable measures to save lives,” said Rev. Dean Gary R. Hall, Chair of Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence and Dean of Washington National Cathedral. “Our organization brings together over fifty prominent national faith denominations and organizations committed to reducing gun violence. America’s faith community firmly believes that background checks on all guns sales is a common-sense and proven measure that will help save lives.”
Vincent DeMarco, National Coordinator of Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence, went into further detail as to why background checks on all guns sales will have an immediate impact. “Individuals can currently buy guns at gun shows or on the Internet without background checks. In states that require background checks, gun trafficking is 48 percent lower and the rate at which women are killed with a gun by an intimate partner is 38 percent lower. “
“We need this policy nationwide, and you can see that the faith community – which represents tens of millions of members across the country – wants real policy change.”
The letter encourages Members of Congress to support the Manchin-Toomey Amendment in the Senate and the King-Thompson background check legislation in the House of Representatives. The legislation would close significant loopholes in current law by requiring background checks on all gun sales, including at gun shows and on the Internet.
Last March many of these same faith leaders joined together and spoke out against gun violence, demanding action from Congress. You can see the video here.
About Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence
On Martin Luther King Day, January 17, 2011, 24 national faith groups announced the formation of “Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence,” a diverse coalition of denominations and faith-based organizations united by the call of our faiths to confront America’s gun violence epidemic and to rally support for policies that reduce death and injury from gunfire. Three years later, we have grown to more than fifty groups representing tens of millions of Americans in faith communities across the nation – and our call to confront this epidemic has grown ever more urgent and imperative. Learn more at: www.faithsagainstgunviolence.org.
SAMPLE #2: Kids Can’t Wait Email Message
SAMPLE #3: A Tale of Two States Press Conference
Dean Gary Hall, Washington National Cathedral (3 minutes max)
Welcome and thank you for attending today’s launch of our new educational campaign “A Tale of Two States: Handgun Purchaser Licensing Saves Lives”. I am the Dean of Washington National Cathedral. Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is a coalition of more than 50 national denominations and faith-based groups committed to educating our member congregations — of which there are thousands — about proven gun violence prevention measures.
We gather today to share some just released research about one of the most effective gun violence prevention measures in the nation: handgun purchaser licensing. And to contrast two states: one where this licensing requirement was in place but was repealed and another that has had handgun purchaser licensing on the books for decades.
We believe that by educating our millions of congregants, they in turn will educate their friends, family members and others in their communities. We also will be reaching out to organizations outside of the faith community to share this new research with them and ask that they also commit to educating the public that handgun purchaser licensing will save lives in their state.
Our conference today is expected to run about 25 minutes. Now, it is my pleasure to introduce Reverend Leslie Malachi Watson of African American Ministers In Action.
Rev. Leslie Malachi Watson, African American Ministers In Action (3 minutes max)
Thank you Dean Hall. You have our gratitude for all you do as our Chair and all you are doing to curb gun violence in America. This is some exciting research, folks. Especially when you consider that 90 percent of all gun deaths in America happen with a handgun. 90 percent!
Now, we all recognize that no law can fully remove gun violence from our society. But when you know that 9 out of 10 gun deaths are due to handguns, this research POPS even more.
One of my deepest concerns is the gun violence that plagues our cities. We’ve known that background checks are popular and that they deter criminals and others who should not have a gun. What we know NOW is that background checks paired with a licensing requirement specifically for handgun purchasers saves even more lives.
So let’s take a look at our Tale of Two States. I’d like to introduce Bishop Wayne Smith from the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.
Bishop Wayne Smith, Missouri (3 minutes max)
Thank you, Leslie. I am so pleased to be able to join you from St. Louis today to hear about this new research and to share some of our experience here in Missouri. In this Tale of Two States, my state – I am sad to say – is not the protagonist.
Eight years ago, our legislature and governor overturned our handgun purchaser licensing requirement and we’ve been paying dearly for it ever since.
We know from peer-reviewed research published in 2014 that many additional lives have been lost in the five years following the repeal, between 2008 and 2013.
In fact, murders using a gun in my state increased a whopping 25% following our repeal of handgun purchaser licensing. We also know that the rise in gun deaths is directly attributable to the repeal of the licensing and background check requirement as the firearm homicide rate during the same period did not increase in adjoining states nor did the national average rise.
I am here today to plead with our sister states across this country that you not make the same mistake we did. If you do not yet have handgun purchaser licensing and background checks, enact it. It will save lives…potentially the life of someone you know and cherish.
If you are one of the 10 states or the District of Columbia that have handgun purchaser licensing, do everything in your power to preserve and protect it.
Now, I am pleased to introduce the highly respected researcher behind the Missouri study who will speak about his new study being unveiled today, Dr. Daniel Webster, Director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Professor Daniel Webster (5 minutes max)
(Will draft own comments)
– Recaps the MO study noting the study took into account many variables, was peer-reviewed and published
– Presents the CT study data for the first time
– Summarizes what we can glean from the two studies
– Introduce Bishop Ian Douglas from the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and one of the conveners of Bishops United Against Gun Violence
Bishop Ian Douglas, Connecticut (3 mins max)
Thank you, Dr. Webster, for once again giving us the facts and empowering our work with real evidence that handgun purchaser licensing is one of the most effective measures we can take to reduce gun violence.
While we have had our share of heartache and we know better than most that laws are only preventative and not a guarantee, we in Connecticut are thrilled to see the real numbers… the evidence that our laws have resulted in REAL LIVES saved.
As Dr. Webster noted, we have had licensing of handgun purchasers in place for two decades. It hasn’t been a burden… our citizens have embraced it as a part of smart and responsible handgun ownership. And now, for the first time ever, we have peer-reviewed, published numbers on what that has meant for our state.
In this Tale of Two States, there are no winners and losers. There are lives saved and there are lives lost. I implore other states to follow the lead of Connecticut, Washington D.C. and the 10 other states that have this lifesaving provision on the books. IT WORKS.
And I am committed to spreading the word about the Tale of Two States campaign and will work tirelessly with Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence and our member bishops at Bishops United Against Gun Violence to spread the word.
It’s now my pleasure to introduce Rabbi David Lerner of the Rabbinical Assembly…
Rabbi David Lerner, Rabbinical Assembly (3 mins max)
Thank you Bishop Douglas. We are all inspired by the success that Connecticut has experienced with its licensing of handgun purchasers. We’re hearing about this today for the first time thanks to this new research by Dr. Webster and his team at Johns Hopkins and now it is time that we all focus on educating the public.
Most don’t know this policy exists. Or that we already have 10 states and the District of Columbia where such a licensing requirement is in place. So now it is on us… the nation’s faith leaders, yes… but also anyone and everyone with the ability to write a letter-to-the- editor, to post on Facebook, to tweet, to raise your voice and share this Tale of Two States.
In one state, handgun purchaser licensing was in place and it was working. But then it was repealed and now murders with a gun have gone up 25%.
In another state, handgun purchaser licensing has been the law of the land for 20 years… and we now know that this law has reduced murders with a gun by 40%! In one state, lives have been needlessly lost and the another state, many lives saved.
Who do we want to be? A nation that balks at the most commonsense reforms that ease our pain and suffering or a nation that embraces them?
We at Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence commit ourselves to educating the public through our congregations and also by recruiting other non-faith organizations to partner with us in sharing the story of Missouri and Connecticut.
And today, we are asking that organizations, community groups, businesses and congregations of all faiths go to TALEOFTWOSTATES.COM and sign the resolution calling for handgun purchaser licensing to be a priority for our nation.
Now, I’d like to introduce another faith leader who has been fighting this fight for a very long time, Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK: A Catholic Lobby For Social Justice.
Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK (3 mins max)
This new Connecticut study contrasted with the 2014 Missouri study makes it is crystal clear that handgun purchaser licensing is a lifesaving policy that all states and the nation as a whole should and must adopt.
The question now is: how do we build a movement behind this? How do we gather our collective strength and advance this lifesaving policy?
It’s going to take a movement. And that’s why Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence has posted a national resolution at TaleofTwoStates.com for organizations, businesses, community groups and congregations to sign.
To gather our collective strength, we need to know who is with us in supporting and advancing this measure. We intend to build a coalition of supporters over the next 24 months… and then, together, work to enact handgun purchaser licensing wherever the opportunity exists.
My organization, NETWORK: A Catholic Lobby For Social Justice , has signed on at TaleofTwoStates.com. Will yours?
(Will add her own parting multi-denominational comments.)
Dean Hall, Questions from Media
Thank you, Sister! And thanks to all of our speakers and especially to Dr. Daniel Webster for undertaking this project and providing us with two respected studies that make it clear that handgun purchaser licensing is a highly effective policy that saves lives. Now, our panel is available for questions.