Our thoughts are with the people of Japan as they continue to struggle with the impacts of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. To show our support for the Japanese people in this time of crises, we are organizing vigils across the country on March 28th. Together we’ll stand in solidarity with the people of Japan and imagine a world free of nuclear disasters.
Click here to download the toolkit as a pdf.
Any locale that is public property and easily accessible. Some ideas: a public park, city hall, an iconic location in your city or in a Japantown. Does your city have a sister city in Japan? Are there cherry trees blooming in your town? Cherry blossoms have a lot of meaning in Japanese culture - and thousands of cherry trees have been given as gifts from Japan to the U.S. and planted in several cities dating back to early 1900s. These trees are located for example in Sakura Park in NY, Balboa Park in San Diego, Lake Balboa/Van Nuys in LA, Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.
Monday, March 28th, evening. Decide when you’d like to hold your event – find out when the sun sets - the best photos will be when its not TOO dark out, but when the sun has just set. Candlelight vigils in the daytime aren’t a good idea visually.
- Coalition outreach: ask other groups to join and invite their members. Think broadly, not just environmental groups. Are there Japanese-American groups or cultural centers or listservs to invite?
- Keep the event plan simple. All you really need is a small group of people, 30 minutes, and some candles. Be prepared to say something to greet the group, or have someone inspiring speak.
- How you structure event is up to you. Some ideas include: hold a moment of silence, invite anyone who’d like to share their thoughts, thank people for attending to show support. You could prepare and invite the attendees to write a thought for the Japanese people on a piece of paper and fold it to make a paper tie to tie together.
Ideas of what to bring:
- Candles (find ones that are a few inches tall, since tea-lights aren’t great for holding in your hand)
- Signs or sign-making materials if you’d like to have them
- Sign-in sheets
Ideas for signs:
- “Have Courage Japan”
- “Imagine a world free of nuclear disasters”
- “I imagine a nuclear-free world”
- “Stand with Japan” (see the image above)
Take Photos at Your Vigil:
- Arrange things to take advantage of the best light - candles will appear well in photos when its dark out, but not too dark!
- Try to capture and convey a feeling in your photograph, and include people if you can.
- Try more than one angle and more than one set up. Move around, up and down to find an interesting view. Fill the frame by moving closer or using your zoom feature if needed.
- Keep an eye for the unexpected or unplanned. Ansel Adams once said that a great picture is an accident and those accidents happen to those that are prepared for them.
How to Submit Your Photo:
Please send us your best photo (1-2 photos max) to:
How to promote your event online (and off)!
When your ready, it’s time to recruit friends, family and community members to your vigil. Below we’ve brought together instructions on how to use Greenpeace’s online recruitment tools as well as tips on getting folks out on March 28th.
Create an Event Page
- Go to our vigils page ( http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/vigilsforjapan ) and on the right, where it says "Host an Event” click on the link.
- Follow the form to enter your personal information. Create a username and password. ( If you already have a username and password, you can use it to sign in. If you cannot remember your username and/or password, look at the top of the page to the “Already a Member? Sign in” link. That link will direct you to finding your account information. )
- Click the Next button at the bottom of the page. You will be directed to the Event Information page.
- Fill out your event information: Title, Location Name and Address, Start, and End time. For the Title, I suggest calling it “Vigil for Japan – CITY NAME.” For start time around 6pm when people are leaving work might be best, but if you have another idea go for it. Finally, be very clear about the location.
- Fill out the Description of Event box. Be sure to include a short description of the event. You might want to say something like “Our thoughts are with the people of Japan as they continue to struggle with the impacts of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. To show our support for the Japanese people in this time of crises, we are organizing vigils across the country on March 28th. Together we’ll stand in solidarity with the people of Japan and imagine a world free of nuclear disasters. Please join us in CITY NAME at LOCATION, ADRESS at TIME.”
- Click the Finish button at the bottom of the page. You will receive an email shortly about your event.
Create a URL:
- First you’ll need a URL to share. >> Go to the email you received after creating an event, it should be called "Have Courage Japan Vigils." Click on the link there to go to your host center.
- On the right, where it says "My Event Information" click edit.
- Where it says personalize URL and in a name after where it says "http://us.greenpeace.org/goto/" - I suggest naming it something like "VigilForJapanCITYNAME" - all one word where you replace the CITYNAME with the location of the vigil.
- Click finish at the bottom and then on the next page click to edit the page again (to the right where it says "My Event Information"). The URL should be listed there for copying and pasting.
- Share this URL with friends and family.
Invite your friends, family, coworkers and anyone you can think of to RSVP.
- In your confirmation email you will receive a link that says Click here to access your Host Center. That will direct you to the host page.
- On the host page click the Email Center tab and then click the Invite People to Your Vigil link.
- Enter their emails in the New Recipients box.
- Include the subject line: “Join my vigil for Japan.” You can also include the date here (March 28th)
- The text for your email is already included, and will automatically link them to your vigil page. You can add more to personalize the message if you desire.
- You can Preview the message by clicking the button at the bottom of the page.
- Click the Send button at the bottom of the page to send out the message to everyone.
Other ways to recruit.
- Get on the phone and call! This is probably the best way to recruit.
- Text Message your friends and family.
- Create a Facebook event. Be sure to link to the official RSVP page so you can communicate with them via the toll there.
- Share the link to your vigil page on Facebook, Twitter, with local bloggers and anyone you can think of.
- Communicate often. Use the event page email center and Facebook's message guests tool from the event to send reminders and other messages to get folks to the vigil. Ask me any questions you have, my email address is
You can start recruiting for your vigil and showing your support for the people of Japan right away online.
Here are 3 simple things you can do:
- Change your profile pictures. Simply right click on the square image that says "Stand with Japan: March 28th Vigils" and save the image. Then go to Facebook (or another site) and upload the image as your profile picture.
- Post a message like the following to Facebook recruiting your friends:
The people of Japan are going through a terrible crisis. But they are not going it alone. Here in the United States, we are organizing candlelight vigils on March 28th to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Japan and to imagine a world free of nuclear disasters. Please join us!
- Post a couple messages like the following to Twitter:
Stand with Japan! Join us #March28 for nationwide vigils to show our support in this time of crisis: http://bit.ly/vigilsforjapan
Join a vigil for the people of Japan & to imagine a world free of nuclear disasters http://bit.ly/vigilsforjapan #March28
Are you having trouble?
Download this PDF for tips and suggestions.