Hosting A Michael Johnson Letter Writing Event
The following provides guidance and best practices for hosting a letter writing event for Michael johnson. to download this toolkit click here.
BEFORE THE EVENT
- Select a location. Ensure that the space is ideal for being able to write and discuss.
- Consider the accessibility of the space. Is this somewhere people can and will travel to?
- Make sure the house of the space you choose correspond with the hours you publicize your event.
- Publicize your letter writing event. Consider word of mouth and social media. Also, consider connecting to an existing group that meets or an event that’s already happening. Try to get on their agenda.
- Provide supplies (paper, pens, and envelopes). Try to get the supplies sponsored.
- Consider creating writing prompts or examples (to inspire folks to write).
during the event
DO provide information about the Michael Johnson case. Download our factsheets and slides.
DO let your audience know that they can also finish or write their letters following the event.
DO invite people to share their stories during the event. Encourage discussion around what’s happening with Michael Johnson, mass incarceration, and HIV criminalization.
DO invite volunteers in your group to share the letters they wrote.
DO post pics of your event and status updates. Use the hashtag #clinictoprisonpipeline
DO consider collecting the letters and mail them yourself (but make sure you have people’s return address)
Remember Michael is not the only one reading his letters. Before they get to him they will also be read by the prison guards and administrators.
DO NOT ask him about his case, updates surrounding his case, or any legal questions at all whatsoever when writing letters.
DO NOT pressure your audience to write letters.
DO NOT ask him any questions or write anything that could make his life harder while he is imprisoned.
DO NOT share information that could be used against him
DO NOT make assumptions about him and how he is doing. Invite him to share about how he is doing, but don’t project.
after the event
- Mail the letters.
- On social media thank people for coming. Share thoughts about the event
- Follow up with folks that indicated they would finish writing their letter later
- Confirm address before mailing letters.