This past summer we have seen many people, especially young people, take action against the injustice in the country by protesting about Black lives and signing petitions in hopes that a change will happen. With these instances being so imminent, it forced people in power to look at the real problem for a moment, but now we have sort of allowed things to go back to normal. The Black Lives Matter movement is no longer ringing on the platforms of social media along with many other relevant, but not discussed, issues. We see some petitions here and there, but are they the best that we can do? Is simply signing your name on a list the best way to help solve the issue?
To have change be successful, it requires some type of effective effort.
Here are some things to do before signing a petition.
- Figure out who is in charge of the petition- If you’re not familiar with the name, search the organization and find out what their goal is, and the problem they’re trying to solve.
- Pay attention to how it’s presented- Don’t believe everything that is written there at first. Be on the lookout for exaggerated statements, unprofessionalism, etc.
- Check the petition’s receiver- Make sure that the petition is aimed at the right people or organization.
- Make sure you care about the particular movement.
Petitions are formal ways to appeal to a higher authority, requesting them to make a change. The important word here is request, which means the person in power can choose to accept or deny the proposal. It is not guaranteed that the plan will be granted.
A very relevant example is the murder of Breonna Taylor. Taylor, who was sleeping in her home, was brutally shot by officers who barged into her house believing that she was connected to a drug crime. It turned out she wasn’t. It has been more than 150 days since her death and the officers who killed Taylor still haven’t been charged. One officer was fired while the other was reassigned. There have been many petitions all over, but again, nothing is happening, why? Because the higher authorities don’t believe that this type of crime is worth truly investigating.
That is why it is essential to dig a little deeper by finding other ways to get an issue the attention that it needs.
A lot of people believe that they have done their part by helping shine a light on the issue, and yes you have assisted in one way, but it is just the start. There is so much more that can and should be done in making sure that voices are heard.
So to answer the question, are petitions effective? Yes, but it’s only step one. We have to fulfill all of the other steps to make sure that change is successful.
Here are some ways that you can do more after signing a petition
- Continue to educate yourself on the matter – Indulge yourself into the core of the problem and follow up on what happens and if there’s any change after the petition.
- Donate to organizations.
- Use your platforms to speak out- If you’re passionate about the matter, PROVE IT! Speak about it through media outlets.
In this day and age, where we have access to resources, let’s be wise and use it adequately.
As we begin the new semester, though it is under limited circumstances, let’s do more than sign petitions. When you see something you don’t like on campus that can negatively affect you and other students, write to the people in power, speak about your experiences, join clubs that you know you can make a difference in. Don’t let the situation crawl back into the box. Don’t stop sharing until you see the matter is solved the correct way.
Be proactive in the change that the world needs to make.