The following model should be tailored from a local angle. While it is focused on your commmunity traveling to the vigil in November, the basic layout can be adapted to many situations, including an event in your town or city or your group traveling to DC for Lobby Days and Actions. It's important to try to keep your release to one page.
Feel free to contact the SOA Watch DC office with any questions. You can reach us at 202-234-3440.
Find contact information for local and national media.
Template for Local Press Release
Fill in the [areas in brackets] with your local info.
for immediate release
Local contact: [Name and phone number (cell phone, if possible)]
SOA Watch contact: Hendrik Voss, 202.425.5128
[Your Town] Residents to Join Thousands in Georgia Calling for Closure of Controversial Training Facility for Latin Americans
Human Rights Advocates Rally to Demand Closure of US Army's School of the Americas
[Your Town] From November 21-23, 2014, residents of the [your town] community will join thousands from across the nation at Fort Benning, Georgia to demand a dramatic shift in US foreign policy and the closure of the controversial US Army's School of the Americas (SOA).
"Despite a shocking human rights record, this school continues to operate with US taxpayer money," said [local person going to Georgia]. "Closing the SOA would send a strong human rights message to Latin America and the world."
The SOA, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place.
This year marks the 25th Vigil commemorating those killed by graduates of the SOA/WHINSEC. In November 1989, SOA graduates led an infamous massacre at the University of Central America in El Salvador that killed a 16-year-old girl and her mother, who worked as a housekeeper at the university, along with six Jesuit priests.
[Person's name] and [number of others traveling] others will leave for Georgia on [date of departure]. [Sentence about your local group]. Last November, thousands of thousands of human rights activists, torture survivors, anti-war veterans, students, families, union workers, artists, and others gathered at the gates of Ft. Benning to call for the closure of the school and an end to U.S. militarization in the Americas.
["Insert quote here connecting struggle to close the SOA with a local struggle in your community," person going to Georgia.] OR [One or two closing sentences about your group: how many years you've traveled, how big you are, who's in it, etc].
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