With 2012 almost over, I wanted to take a second to stop and reflect on this crazy, beautiful community of hope that we've all created together. The numbers are mind-boggling --
- 17.2 million of us are getting this email today, and that number is skyrocketing -- almost doubling in the last several months!
- We've come together from all 194 nations, 1.7 million of us in Brazil, 1.6M in France, 773,000 in India. Here's the map
- We've taken more than 100 million actions, online and offline, and told over 250 million friends about important campaigns
- Our voices have brought awareness to critical issues, with coverage in at least 15,000 news reports this year alone
- 400,000 of us have donated, giving almost $7 million through Avaaz to other humanitarian and democracy organisations
- 20,000 of us have already started, and started winning, campaigns using our new community petition tool
But behind the numbers is so much more -- thousands of stories of people coming together with a hope that is powerful enough to overcome cynicism and achieve change. Not just in small ways, but in some really, really big ways.
Remember Malala, the incredibly brave young girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls education? In a week, the Avaaz team worked with partners in Pakistan to identify an ambitious plan to get all kids into school, and after 886,000 of us signed the petition for this plan, the UN education envoy Gordon Brown presented it directly to President Zardari who himself signed the petition! Malala was "thrilled" to be greeted in hospital with the news that Zardari had approved funds to get 3 million more children into school! Brown called our mobilisation "crucial".
This was just before 1.8 million of us played a major role in winning a Palestinian state. After Israel and the US started bullying countries to vote against it at the UN, we unleashed opinion polls in 4 countries, thousands of phone calls, lobbied leaders and erected giant 4 storey flags outside official meetings. In the final vote only 9 countries out of 193 voted against! The EU Palestinian Ambassador said "Avaaz played a critical role in persuading governments to support the Palestinian people's bid...their solidarity and support will be remembered and cherished across Palestine".
And earlier this year, a whopping 2.8 million of us joined a powerhouse campaign to stop the ACTA treaty -- a critical win against global corporations trying to censor the Internet. The treaty died in Europe, and the Parliament's president said he was "very impressed by Avaaz's massive petition which was taken seriously by the European Parliament". Other leading members of Parliament publicly cited our voices as critical to getting them to scrutinize and oppose ACTA.
That's 3 of literally hundreds of stories to tell about this year alone! (Check out our updates page for more.) I can't wait to see what our community is capable of in 2013, from protecting rainforests and wildlife to standing with the Syrian people and the Arab Spring to dismantling Rupert Murdoch's corrupt media empire, and so much more.
This is an amazing thing we've built together, an engine of hope and change in the world. And every one of us has contributed to make it happen. Next time you're out at dinner with friends or at a party, try asking if anyone else is part of Avaaz. Chances are someone will be, and maybe you'll have a conversation that builds your hope. Because we can achieve a lot on our own, but if we come together and stick together, anything is possible.
With enormous appreciation for every lovely and committed person in this unique community,
Ricken and the whole Avaaz team