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Vigil for Peace and Diplomacy

Vigil for Peace and Diplomacy Host Guide




On Thursday, September 10, at 6 p.m. local time, MoveOn members and countless other pro-peace groups will hold a day of Vigils for Peace and Diplomacy around the country to support the agreement with Iran and avoid a path to war. MoveOn members spent the August recess phone banking, tweeting, and holding a national day of action, titled “No War With Iran,” calling on their members of Congress to support peace and diplomacy and show their support for the Iran deal.

Next week, members of Congress are back to Washington, D.C., after a month  at home, and this may be our final opportunity to demonstrate the country’s support for peace and diplomacy with Iran. The goals of the Vigils for Peace and Diplomacy you’re organizing will be to earn media attention, bring pro-peace and -diplomacy people together, and to let members of Congress know that their constituents want them to support diplomacy.

Listen to a recording of the host prep call.

Before Your Event


Step 1: Choose a location for your event.

Your vigil should be in a highly visible and accessible public place. Make sure it’s public property and it’s okay to be there. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to post your event by clicking here and going directly to the event posting page. Once you’ve posted your event, you will have access to your host tools page

Step 2: Invite friends and family,

Encourage those who RSVP to take ten minutes to hop on the phone and invite their friends, family, and neighbors to your vigil. Reach out to allied organizations (peace, faith, youth, etc.) in your community to join your event. Veterans and faith organizations are especially good choices to lead these vigils. You can also invite people from the host tools page.

Step 3: Bring candles.

We’ll be asking people to bring their own candles, but as a coordinator you should always have some extra on hand just in case. Hardware stores often sell “plumber’s candles” that work well. Another thing to watch out for is falling wax. When wax drips onto the ground and dries, it can be slippery and dangerous, and it’s generally a good idea to prevent the wax from dripping. The best solution is to bring your candle in a lantern or holder, because these also protect candles from blowing out in the wind. You can find inexpensive candle holders at the drug store, or you can use some cups or glasses from your house and place small votives or tea lights in them. If you’re using tapered candles, a great solution is to poke a small hole in the center of a cupcake wrapper and slide it over your candle before you light it; that way, the cupcake wrapper will catch the wax as it drips. You can find cupcake wrappers at your grocery store.

Step 4: Invite media.

Getting local media to cover your event helps reach thousands more people with our message. If you’ve never organized an event like this, check out the Vigil for Peace and Diplomacy Media Guide for more tips and see our template press advisory.

During Your Event


Arrive at least 30 minutes early to greet attendees as they show up, and pass out signs and candles.

Sample event program:

  • Start your vigil no more than 10 minutes after the scheduled time.
  • Pass out extra signs and candles to attendees who didn’t bring their own.
  • When you’re ready to begin, gather everyone up in a central location.
  • Welcome everyone to the event, talk about the purpose of the event, and introduce each speaker. Click here to download a quick welcoming and a few short thoughts to share with the group.
  • Introduce a few local speakers to tell their stories about why it’s so important to support peace and diplomacy (we suggest three speakers). Ask each speaker to please keep their remarks to less than three minutes. It can be especially helpful to begin with veterans and faith leaders. It’s important to ask them to keep their remarks brief beforehand—and to be gentle but firm about asking people to bring their stories to a close when they’ve passed the three minute mark.
  • Close with comments about how this is a powerful reminder of why we can’t afford to go to war and why we must support peace and diplomacy. Ask everyone to call or tweet their member of Congress to thank those who are supporting diplomacy, encourage undecideds, and show the opposition there’s a huge wave of support for peace and diplomacy.
  • Ask your attendees to share their experience on social media:
  • Attendees should tweet and Instagram using the hashtag #NoWarWithIran.
  • Photos should also be sent to photo@moveon.org.
  • Here are some other things you could add to your vigil to make it more powerful:
  • Ask attendees to break into small groups and share their personal story for why they are attending the vigil.
  • Set up luminary bags along the road or in a circle around the vigil.
  • Create a gathering of all of the candles in one place at the end of the vigil.
  • Set up a large poster or wall where people can post pictures or write their stories about why supporting the Iran deal is so important.

After Your Event


  1. Hold a meeting to debrief on your action and to talk about next steps. Plan this gathering to take place 5—10 days after your action.
  2. Follow up with folks who attended your action.
    • Call through your sign-up sheets to thank people for coming.
    • Debrief with any members who took on leadership roles during the event. This includes greeters, the emcee, and other coordinators.
    • Share any news coverage and press clippings with attendees. (It’s also great to send these to the office of your member of Congress.)
    • Send thank-you notes to any of the speakers from your event.
  3. Fill out the survey you’ll receive via email after the event.
  4. Email any photos from the event to photo@moveon.org, and share them on social media using #NoWarWithIran.
  5. Celebrate.

Must-have Materials

Press advisory and media guide

Sending a press advisory to local media is crucial for getting media to cover your vigil. Below is a press advisory template you can customize to your event, as well as some simple media guide with tips on how to reach out to media.

Sample remarks and talking points

Having sample remarks prepared can make for a powerful moment at your vigil. Below are some sample remarks, tips, and talking points for your vigil.

Host tools page

This is how you invite people and contact attendees. We sent you a link to this by email, but click here if you can’t find it.


“Thank you” signs, for members of Congress that have come out in support of the Iran deal.

“No War With Iran” and “Defend Diplomacy” signs:

sheet

You are meeting fellow MoveOn members in the area, and it is great to get their contact information so you can thank them and invite them to future actions. Click here to print the sign-in page.

Sharing and social media

Email photos and video to photo@moveon.org. Tweet or post to Facebook and Instagram using hashtag #NoWarWithIran. You can also download the logo and change your profile picture and banner on social media.

Need help?

Email your questions to help@moveon.org, and our team will respond to your question.