May 21, 2019

Change.org helps democracy

The internet is full of challenges, memes and plenty of other garbage. Among the rubbish that exists on the internet though there are a few websites that shine through the many seemingly pointless ones. Change.org, a website where users create petitions to push forth change, is one of those websites.

A lot of political change starts through the internet, people can start fundraisers to help pay medical bills and Change.org allows users to start and share petitions for causes they deem important.

The Change.org website doesn’t state that they are able to make the requests of the petition happen. They give you steps to help push your petition. These include creating the petition, sharing the petition, building the momentum, reaching out to the media, engaging your decision makers and declaring victories.

Of course, even among well-intentioned sites, there are still those who use the site for jokes. For example, those who create petitions for Instagram to reactivate their friend’s account or what song to play at the Superbowl.

I first heard about Change.org when the petition to impeach President Donald Trump began one year ago. As a Democrat, I thought the idea was great, but I questioned how one website that wasn’t even affiliated with the government could complete such an impossible task.

The site never promises to make these petitions happen, that was my misinterpretation of the site. It is simply another vessel for people to have their voice heard. There are petitions on the site ranging from the impeachment of President Trump to elementary students petitioning to have Starbucks stop using plastic cups.

Change.org states that there have been 33,022 victories in 196 countries. Change.org declares a petition a victory if it reaches its signature goal within its goal time.

Not every petition that starts on Change.org receives the change they wish for. Not even every challenge that is deemed a victory by Change.org makes the change they want, like the petition to impeach President Trump.

While many petitions are unsuccessful there are still a few that make the change they intend to. Change.org facilitates users to do exactly what their title suggests, change.

Emily Phelps launched a petition against Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company, and their CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen. Phelps is a T1 diabetic and she is petitioning the company because of the dramatic price increase of insulin.

Although her petition has not reached its signature goal, Phelps has still made a wave in a very large pond. Due to the momentum, the petition gained an investigation of 12 major healthcare companies, including Novo Nordisk.

Petitions that reach their signature goal and ones that don’t, all have their purpose and they can all make waves with the right momentum. They show people that you can make a change, if the petition isn’t successful with legislators or business owners, it still pushes change.

 

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