This was the year our powerfully diverse community hit a tipping point.
Change.org members organized 9,132 campaigns on six continents. Together, we took action nearly 8 million times. A million more people joined our movement. And we're growing more quickly every day.
We didn't just fight. Time and time again, we won. In towns and cities all around the globe, Change.org members saw a way their world could be better, organized for social change, and emerged victorious.
The team at Change.org has watched in amazement at everything this exploding community has accomplished so far. And we can't wait to see what we can do together in the year to come.
To celebrate our successes together, we've created a list of 10 of the most inspiring victories on Change.org in 2010. See the top 5 below, and all 10 here. Then, if you're feeling bold, start your own petition -- your campaign could be on this list in 2011.
Change.org members teamed up with anti-trafficking groups in a massive campaign to get Cragislist to shut down their "adult services" sections, which had become the biggest source of ads for sex trafficking victims in the world. After 11,612 Change.org members signed a petition to founder Craig Newmark and a coordinated campaign published letters of protest from girls formerly sold for sex on the site, Craigslist shut down their U.S. based adult ad pages in September -- leading to a 48% drop in the overall volume of prostitution ads online and shrinking the online commercial sex industry by a projected $37 million this year.
Seth Stambaugh was a 23-year-old education major assigned to student teach a fourth grade class at the Beaverton School District near Portland, Oregon. After a student asked if he was married, Seth replied that because he was gay, it would be illegal for him to wed in the state. Seth was subsequently removed from the classroom when his comment was deemed "inappropriate" by the district. Over the span of the next three weeks, more than 5,000 Change.org members -- many of them parents in the district -- emailed the district's superintendent, demanding that he be allowed to teach - and won. As Seth wrote to Change.org members, "It worked! I am back in my original classroom and am thrilled every day that I get to go there."
You can't kill by lethal injection without sodium thiopental, used to put the victims in a coma before two poisons are administered to kill them. So when the sole American provider ran out of its supply, states like Arizona and California turned to a British company that manufactured the same drug. But Change.org members lobbied British Business Minister Vincent Cable via his personal email address, and successfully compelled him to ban the sale under an old law that forbids the export of "execution equipment" like guillotines. Executions across the U.S. continue to be delayed because of the shortage.
Mary Kate Hallock returned to her home one afternoon to find that Oakland police -- the same force that gunned down eight dogs last year -- had shot and killed her 11-year-old yellow lab in her own backyard. Refusing to wait for another incident, nearly 2,000 Change.org members demanded action to stop the unnecessary shootings. Soon after, the Oakland P.D. announced a partnership with an East Bay animal protection group for a program to train officers in animal handling and behavior. After a rash of animal shootings by police nationwide this year, the Oakland program now serves as a model for other communities.
Twenty-year-old Steve Li, whose parents had brought him to the U.S. from Peru at a young age, didn't even know he was undocumented until immigration authorities showed up at his door, brought him from California to Arizona, and locked him in a detention center. Just before he was to be deported, his classmates at the City College of San Francisco rallied to win his freedom, launching a petition on Change.org targeting Sen. Diane Feinstein and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Hundreds of friends and supporters signed, and the two lawmakers passed a bill specifically delaying Li's deportation. As the DREAM Act -- legislation to give undocumented students brought to the U.S as minors a path to American citizenship -- languished in Congress, friends and family successfully ran campaigns on Change.org again and again this year to free detained students like Li.