Campaign Guide

UNPACKING THE INJUSTICE (AKA THE PROBLEM)

What exactly is the injustice - the problem, in real terms of how it shows up in people’s everyday life?

How would the world look different if the problem were solved?

Why hasn’t the problem been solved?

What would it take to solve the problem?

  • More information? Greater awareness? New tools? Better organization? Better communication? More power? SHIFTED POWER?
  • What changes by what people would be required for the problem to be solved?
  • What can we begin to do towards creating those required changes?

SELECTING YOUR DIGITAL PETITION CAMPAIGN GOAL

No one campaign can solve everything, but unless we can focus our efforts on clear outcomes we risk wasting precious resources in ways that won’t move us towards our ultimate goals.

Toward what goal can you work that may not solve the whole problem, but that could get us well on the way? This goal would make a real change, could build capacity, could motivate others, could create a foundation for what comes next.

IDENTIFYING THE TARGET OF YOUR DIGITAL PETITION CAMPAIGN

Who has the power to make this change outlined by your petition goal (i.e. the decision-maker(s)? The more specific, the better. Institutions don’t make decisions - people do. Include the actual name(s) of the official(s) who will decide on whether or not you win the change you seek with your petition campaign. You may need to do some online research to be clear about with whom the authority to make the change lies.

DESCRIBING WHY THIS MATTERS

This is the message that will appear in your campaign page and persuade people to join. Think of it as a story -

  • First lay out the problem at hand, your relationship to the issue, and how this issue impact Black communities.
  • Next, describe the change the you want to see happen from this petition campaign and how this would begin to solve the problem.
  • Finally, discuss what is at stake here. Be sure to include why someone should support your campaign and why your target should do what you are asking in the petition.
  • Try to use a combination of facts and real stories so you appeal to people’s heads and hearts.

REVIEW THE FOLLOWING PETITION CAMPAIGN EXAMPLES TO HELP YOU ENVISION YOUR OWN CAMPAIGN:

Example 1 - At Hypothetical High School, they have started enforcing new changes to the dress code banning several common Black hairstyles, and 17 students have been suspended because of it. As a community member, you could start a digital petition campaign targeting the local school board demanding that they drop charges on the students and rescind the discriminatory part of the dress code that is disproportionately affecting Black students.

Example 2 - You noticed your favorite online platform is being used by white supremacists to organize and harass Black people. As a member of that online community, you could start a petition to demand the platform stop promoting racial hatred on the site.

Example 3 - You read in the local paper that this year your city council has the decision to help fund a new private prison in town. As a taxpayer, you start a petition to deny funding for the prison and ask instead for the city council to invest the money in local schools.

Note: We didn’t give Congressional example here and there is a reason - We encourage you to choose a target that will be influenced by everyday people. Congress and State legislatures can still be influenced in some instances, but generally the more local, the more accessible the elected or decision-maker to the people, the better.