Help us bring a changing world home to the Bay Area

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Shawn Gaynor's picture

Write Letters Home!

One of the richest aspects of the Bay Area is our deep tradition of working internationally for a better world. Congregations, comrades and individual intrepid adventurers representing grassroots efforts or formal NGOs reach across the globe carrying our values of social justice, sustainability, and compassion. They bring back with them new ideas and perspectives that enrich us all.

By offering a regular Letters Home section in The Outsider we hope to present stories from around the world to Bay Area readers, told through the eyes of their friends and neighbors. Out of the wealth of our collective experiences The Outsider hopes to create a forum to bring on the ground perspectives home without the ridged and sterile trappings of traditional news wire coverage. Unlike a simple Facebook post about your experiences the letter is meant to bring broad regional attention to the issues and events you discuss.

To make this happen we need your help. Yes, you! If you are traveling abroad for work, activism, or simply bearing witness to the broader world, we want to hear the stories of hardship and hope you encounter in our rapidly changing world.

Your letter should be written in the first person and total 1,200 words or less. Blend facts and background information with on the ground antidotes. Let us know if your effort is part of a broader campaign, a personal endeavor or an unexpected detour. Introduce local characters encountered along the way. Did you find what you expected at the beginning of your journey? Share what surprising turns the voyage took. It is not necessary to get in touch with us before hand but a conversation before your trip can strengthen a letter and give us a heads up to look forward to it.

Consider include pictures and/or a short video clip for our online readers. Let our readers know where to find more information on the issues and events you present. End your letter with a one or two sentence bio about yourself and your affiliations. Feel free to include a picture of yourself to accompany the Bio so people who see you know to ask about your journey and consider including a contact here for people who what to reach you about your efforts.

Please consider stopping by The Outsider upon your return to shoot a follow-up interview with us for readers anxious to hear more.

If you represent a non-profit or NGO doing regular international work, please help us plug in to your efforts and turn your Bay Area based colleagues on to this opportunity to reach out to Bay Area readers. In rare circumstances we accept Letters Home based on domestic travel. If you are thinking of submitting a Letter Home from inside the Ole' US of A please pitch the idea to us in advance. We plan to highlight only one letter each week to make sure they are prominently presented to our audience. We choose submissions based on their content quality and not every letter will be selected for print. We only print letters that have not been published elsewhere.

To send us your letter, ask us questions about the Letters Home section or to give us a heads up about a trip you are planning, contact us at Please include the words “Letters Home” in the subject line.

Thank you for helping us make this project possible and please do remember to write home.

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