By: RILEY PULT
Yes, but you have to know what you are getting into.
Petitions have recently taken the entire world by storm. People use it as a way to advocate for change and speak out on specific topics. It is assumed that signing a petition makes your voice heard loud and clear. But how do you know what to sign? And what exactly does a petition do?
Before you dive headfirst into signing petitions, you should do a fair amount of research. Many petitions are very biased on their views, so it is vital to check the facts first. Researching does not mean talking with friends or accepting what the news says word for word. It is crucial to find unbiased sources; that way, you can form your own opinions. References should also be reliable. Never trust websites that allow people to edit an article they did not write. Now that you are educated on a topic, it’s time to check out websites such as Change.org. This website has countless petitions. Topics range from racial justice, entertainment, politics, food, and more. The proper amount of research allows for education, which is always valuable when you endorse a petition.
Is It Legit?
Now that proper research has been done, it is time to discover petitions. It is necessary to be particularly cautious when signing. Various people behind petitions create them just for clicks. Once you have found a petition you want to sign, find out who is behind it. Usually, non-profit organizations can be trusted. Although, before trusting an organization, an in-depth background check is always an excellent idea. Do they represent what they say? Do you agree with the causes they are donating too? If you find a petition by an individual, you should always investigate their name. It is crucial to find out how they are using signatures and if it is a hoax. If you encounter a petition by someone who does not state their name or an organization, it is almost always a red flag. Unless other information presented proves they are doing something with the signatures and donations, do not trust them. Once you find an organization or person you trust, go ahead and sign!
Congrats! You’ve officially signed a petition, but how are you helping? Depending on who the petition is directed towards and how many signatures there are determines how far the petition will go. Petitions usually put pressure on areas of the government to create laws. Many petition’s purposes are to get or serve justice. Once a petition receives a certain amount of people signing it, it should be delivered to the intended recipient or group. By signing a petition, you are helping to be apart of the next step. If a petition is not victorious with its mission, it might raise awareness. However, Change.org users claim one victory per hour. A.J. Walton, a spokesman for the online petition forum, said in an interview. Some petitions have helped pass bills. For example, after Ahmaud Arbery was brutally murdered, citizens raised awareness and convinced the state of Georgia to pass a hate crime bill. That means those who target victims based on race will face more severe punishment. (https://www.change.org/p/governor-brian-kemp-justice-for-ahmaud-arbery?source_location=petitions_browse) Another petition named “Free Rojai Fentress” was asking to free an innocent man in jail, Rojai, after he was convicted for murder, one he did not commit. With 8,130 supporters, Rajai was freed and is now getting back on his feet. (https://www.change.org/p/governor-ralph-northam-free-rojai-fentress-2?source_location=petitions_browse) These are just a couple of examples of the many ways petitions have put pressure on the government and officials. By signing a petition, you are advocating for change and being heard.
How to Proceed
After supporting a cause, you should regularly update yourself. It is important to continue educating yourself and others. You shouldn’t be afraid to go even further after signing a petition. Many movements do not happen just from petitions. Rallies, protesting, and donating are also important pieces of the puzzle. It shows support and dedication to a situation.
In summary, signing a petition does affect the situation. Whether it raises awareness or allows laws to be passed, you are doing your part to ensure that society is aware. Remember to always research the topic and the people behind it before typing or writing your name on the dotted line.