Step III to Spark a Community Renaissance
In his last speech as President to the American people, Obama declared that “change only happens when ordinary people get involved, and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.” Regardless of where you fall politically, he is right.
A practical means to this end is by starting a petition: one idea, co-signed by a large group of people.
Petitions are now primarily spread online. Trayvon Martin’s family created a petition that received millions of signatures which brought public pressure to investigate George Zimmerman. After a special needs child died due to neglectful child services, the boy’s sister started a petition and received over 500k signatures. Public support led legislators to create “The Quentin Douglas Wood Act”, which sought to make this kind of neglect impossible. Just a couple of weeks ago, a controversial painting of cops drawn as pigs in the tunnel of the Capitol Building was taken down after thousands of petition signatures brought this issue to the desks of elected representatives.
These are rare but memorable instances where large groups of people get together and successfully “demand” change. Sadly, injustice isn’t rare, and it happens at the national level and in our backyards.
A few years ago Greg Schiller, a local science teacher, was unfairly suspended by LA Unified School District. Administrators believed his students were building dangerous science projects. Many students and parents were in disbelief and quickly came to Schiller’s defense with an outpouring on social media. A petition quickly circulated and a few months later, Schiller was reinstated.
Online petitions are not new, but having the proper network and platform to propel these petitions certainly is. That’s where The Burg comes in.
For the most part, people who sign petitions today do so anonymously. The signatures are important but they are not tied directly to a voting community. On The Burg you are placed directly in your voting district and therefore when you sign a petition, your representatives know exactly what members of their constituency think. If a legislator sees a petition with massive support from within their district, they will have no choice but to respond to the mandate.
A petition cannot replace the process of turning a bill into law, but it can certainly get the ball rolling.