During a year fraught with police brutality, a global pandemic, and an ousted president who won’t admit defeat, many voiced their frustration on social media and some took to the streets in protest. Many others decided to raise awareness of issues important to them with online petitions on sites like Change.org.
“2020 has been a historic year in many ways, and it was no different on our platform,” said Michael Jones, managing director of campaigns at Change.org, per CNN. “Hundreds of millions of Americans came to Change.org to sign petitions on the most important issues affecting them this year.
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The organization saw a surge in petitions that were created and signed, as well as an increase in campaigns that were considered victories after they achieved their goals.
The group announced that this year, petitions calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and Ahmaud Arbery broke records on its site, becoming Change.org’s most-signed petitions of all time.
The death of George Floyd, 46, who died during a police encounter that ended with an officer kneeling on his neck while he shouted that he couldn’t breathe, sparked nationwide protests and calls to end police brutality and racism. So far, more than 19 million people have signed the petition, making it the largest in the organization’s history. All four former police officers that were involved in the incident will stand trial in 2021.
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Breonna Taylor, 26, an EMT, was killed by police executing a no-knock warrant while Taylor was asleep in her bed. More than 11 million people have signed the petition that was launched by Loralei HoJay, a 19-year-old student from Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Elijah McClain, 23, was stopped by police in Aurora, Co. while walking home from a convenience store after he was described as a “suspicious person” by a 911 caller. When McClain objected to officer-contact, one of the officers placed him in a chokehold and McClain lost consciousness. He was given the drug Ketamine by paramedics, which led to a heart attack, and he died three days later. More than 5.6 million people have signed the petition so far.
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot and killed while jogging in Georgia. A father and son were arrested and are facing murder charges in Arbery’s death after a video of the incident went viral. Nearly 4 million people signed a petition seeking justice for Arbery.
Some of the top petitions in 2020 include making Kobe Bryant the new logo for the NBA, declaring the KKK a terrorist organization, calling for $2,000 stimulus checks amid the coronavirus pandemic, and canceling student loans.
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