Now more than ever before, members of the public have the resources at their disposal to tackle major issues of social injustice and meaningfully affect change. Petitions are one such example of a tool that operates to empower people to improve their lives, or the lives of others. When a certain set number of signatures is acquired for any petition, governments are required to provide a response to the petition’s issue, making this form of activism a simplistic yet effective means of eliciting reactions from national authorities.
With the launch of Qomon’s new petition feature and the possibility to create and sign petitions online, we want to show you the efficacy of this powerful form of citizen-empowered activism by taking you through five real life examples of successful petitions that piqued the interest of national governments, and ultimately changed the course of history.
1. Justice for George Floyd
The assassination of George Floyd by a police officer in May 2020 led to global protests against racism and police brutality.
Later that same summer, a petition started by a 15 year-old girl demanding justice for George Floyd and his family reached more than 19 million signatures. According to the Change.org website, it became the biggest petition and movement in history.
In 2021, the police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, making the petition a success.
You can read about how Qomon helped to mobilize the Black Lives Matter Movement in our article.
2. Diabetes to be entirely covered by health insurance policies in Argentina
In 2013, a mother named Maria who was concerned by her son’s diabetes started a petition to ensure every need linked to diabetes was 100% covered by health insurance in Argentina, and to modify the existing law surrounding this because the wording was misleading.
With over 75,000 signatures, in November of that same year a new law was approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senators. Maria still encourages everyone to take action and to participate in causes that you believe in, seeing as it can actually make a real life difference.
3. Demanding more measures regarding school harassment in France
In 2015, a French mother saw her 13-year-old daughter commit suicide as a result of the tireless bullying she endured at school. She claimed that on average, 1 in every 10 children in France is the victim of psychological or physical abuse, and that the French Government does nothing to put an end to this situation.
More than 78,000 people signed her petition, in which she laid out some concrete measures that should be taken into consideration by the Minister for Education. That same year, this mother managed to secure an interview with the Education Ministry during which they confirmed that some of the measures that she had originally proposed were starting to be implemented.
4. Tripadvisor reports sexual assault
We all know Tripadvisor as a website originally created for travelers to leave reviews and opinions about the hotels, restaurants and activities that they experience during their getaways.
In 2018, a woman who chose to go by the name “K”, complained about having been sexually assaulted by a tour guide whose business was displayed on TripAdvisor.
At first, instead of taking action, the company suggested that K leave a review about the incident, which was subsequently not published as her review was not written in a “first-person” format.
In response to this, K, with the help of Change.org, started a petition demanding that TripAdvisor “stop covering up sexual assaults” and to take violence against women more seriously, which the company had failed to do up until this time. With nearly 700,000 signatures, TripAdvisor announced that they would be changing their way of handling reviews involving incidents of sexual assault.
Several months after it this, the website declared that: “the platform has now introduced additional safety measures that focus on making it easier for users to report sexual assault.”
K herself wrote: “I’m thrilled to declare our campaign a victory.”
5. A petition modifies the entertainment law in Madrid, Spain
In 2013, it was the first time that a petition managed to modify a law in Spain: Isabel, the mother of one of the girls who tragically died in the Madrid Arena human stampede (on 1 November 2012, a Halloween party resulted in five girls being crushed to death and a further 29 people being injured due to the event organizers’ failure to respect the capacity of the arena) started a petition to modify the entertainment law applicable in the region of Madrid in Spain.
According to this law, the organizer of the event which resulted in the death of her daughter, could continue negligently organizing events without facing any actual consequences. Isabel’s petition sought to correct this.
More than 400,000 people signed the petition, resulting in the Madrid Assembly approving a new law by the end of 2013 which served to penalize negligence in event-management, making Isabel’s petition a success.