The sleeping giant has awoken...

From: Ricken Patel - <>
Date: Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 2:56 AM
Subject: The sleeping giant has awoken...

Dear Avaaz community,

Across the planet, millions of people young and old are flooding the streets and mobilising online to reject corruption and injustice and speak of a more beautiful world. A new Twitter hashtag in Brazil tells the story: #OGiganteAcordou. Translation: "The sleeping giant has awoken".

And Avaaz - now nearly 25 million strong! - is there almost everywhere it's happening. In one example, the Brazilian Senate repeatedly cited our community last week when they voted to give any 500,000 citizen petition the power to directly introduce measures to the government.

We're growing by well over 1 million people per month, and it's accelerating. As more citizens shake off the slumber we are realising that the world really is ours and, while we face great challenges, what happens next, depends on all of us.

Because when we come together, and stay together, we win. Scroll down for victories and updates, just from the last several weeks:

Brazil says NO to Corruption, YES to 21st Century Democracy!

Delivering our 1.6 million voices to Brazil's SenateDelivering our 1.6 million voices to Brazil's Senate

Brazilians are saying enough is enough to rampant corruption. First it was the hugely successful Clean Record Law campaign, to bar politicians convicted of crimes from running for office -- which studies have shown Avaaz played a key role in winning. Now an Avaaz member has created the biggest online petition in Brazilian history -- with over 1.6 million voices demanding that Senators kick out the Senate President, a disgraced politician under a cloud of corruption allegations. He's still there for now, but we're close to ending the secret voting process which allowed him to get the Senate top spot.

Even better, the Senate just voted to make it easier and faster for citizens to force politicians to take action. Avaaz was repeatedly cited during the Senate debate, in which they agreed to halve how many people need to sign popular initiative petitions, and they determined that online signatures can count! Now we're going all out to get the lower house on board.

Bangladesh: Hope from the Rubble

A Swedish paper splashes our banned H&M adA Swedish paper splashes our banned H&M ad
When a Bangladeshi garment factory collapsed, killing over a thousand, Avaaz joined forces with labour organisations and targeted two massive retail giants. The aim: to get them to sign an enforceable worker safety plan that could be a model for the world.

Avaaz members blanketed the H&M and GAP Facebook pages. And when our ad targeting H&M's boss was turned down by a leading newspaper in Sweden a huge debate kicked off there, in the media and online. Senior H&M executives got right on the phone with Avaaz, and 3 days later embraced the agreement, prompting more than 75 other brands to follow in their footsteps! GAP and WalMart aren't on the list yet, but we're working on them.

A Victory for Bees in Europe!

Wind, rain or snow, we kept up the fight for our bees Wind, rain or snow, we kept up the fight for our bees
After more than two years of tireless campaigning, we played a key role in getting Europe to ban bee-killing pesticides, at least until 2015! This victory came from two years of flooding ministers with messages, launching a massive petition with over 2.6 million signatures, organising media-grabbing protests with beekeepers and a 5-metre high inflatable bee, funding opinion polls, and much, much more.

It's been a long haul to take on mighty mega-corporations like Bayer, and it wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration of many scientists, specialists, sympathetic officials, beekeepers and environmental groups. According to Friends of the Earth: "Avaaz's massive petition and creative campaigning helped push this over the edge."

Stopping the Mass Maasai Evictions

1.7 million Avaazers back the Massai's right to live in their ancestral lands1.7 million Avaazers back the Massai's right to live in their ancestral lands
The Tanzanian government wanted to kick thousands of families off their lands, reportedly so wealthy tourists could shoot lions and leopards! But 1.7 million of us joined them to say "no", alerting CNN and Al Jazeera to cover the story, then running hard-hitting adverts calling out the government in local papers -- and encouraging aid donors to ask questions. President Kikwete wanted there to be nothing but silence, but the Maasai have continued to persevere. Finally, when the Maasai descended on the Parliament demanding their right to live in their ancestral lands, the Prime Minister signed a letter pledging to seek a permanent solution to this conflict with community participation. We've so far succeeded in stalling the evictions, but we'll continue to fight until the President calls it off for good.

Moving Beyond the Failed War on Drugs

Guatemalan President says YES to ending the failed war on drugs Guatemalan President Pérez Molina says YES to ending the failed war on drugs
The voices of hundreds of thousands of Avaazers across the Americas called on leaders to embrace more humane drug policies. The result was a historic declaration by the Organisation of American States to move beyond prohibition and tackle drugs as a public health priority, not a military mission.

Our petition was crucial. We delivered it directly, in front of the media, to Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina. And the President explained our exact strategy in his own words: "We thank Avaaz for this petition because it gives us as leaders of the continent the strength to debate this issue without it being seen as taboo."

Ending the War on Women

Avaaz's pink bus tours New Delhi with 'PM Singh' on board to call for public education against rapeAvaaz's pink bus tours New Delhi with 'PM Singh' on board to call for public education against rape
In India, a 23-year-old student was brutally raped on a bus, then died from her injuries. In the Maldives, a 15 year-old girl was sentenced to flogging for having sex outside marriage. In Somalia, a young woman was brutally gang-raped by the security forces that were supposed to protect her.

In each case Avaaz members have helped turn horror into hope, amplifying millions of our voices in the media to pressure governments to pass stronger laws to protect women. In the Maldives, our campaign threatening tourism got us an open door to top political leaders, who said the girl would not be flogged for now, and a poll commissioned by Avaaz hit the front pages showing citizens wanted the laws changed. In India, a big pink bus with a larger than life fake PM Singh touting our message was driven through the streets of Delhi, and there is now growing interest in our call for a massive public education campaign challenging out of date attitudes towards women. These are just the tips of the iceberg in our fight to end misogyny.

Saving Fin Whales from Butchery

Delivering our call to save the fin whalesDelivering our call to save the fin whales to the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs
When an Icelandic tycoon launched his brutal summer hunt to turn endangered fin whales into dog food, Avaaz launched a campaign to stop him shipping the bloody carcasses to Japan. Over 1.1 million of us convinced Dutch politicians to commit to closing Dutch ports. Then we showed up again in Germany when he tried to reroute his shipments through Hamburg. The German Environment Ministry responded to Avaazers' messages right away on Twitter and -- working closely with Greenpeace, together we created the pressure that got the whale meat put right back on a ship to Iceland! The German government has now asked the port to refuse all future whale meat shipments, 200,000 Avaaz members in Germany are now asking the nation's biggest supermarket to stop selling products linked to the whaling company and we're chasing down the whaler's other routes to profit until he realises he has to stop killing fin whales.

Stopping the Global Tax Scam

Avaazers in action urging PM Harper to take action on taxAvaazers in action urging PM Harper to take action on tax
Each year, greedy companies and wealthy individuals use tricky schemes to hide away an estimated $1 trillion, depriving governments of tax they need to fix our services and our countries. This year we spotted an opportunity to go after the missing money, built a massive petition and linked up with famous singer Baaba Maal and worked closely with Save the Children, ActionAid and other campaign groups to deliver our voices to David Cameron, G8 summit chair. Our letter signed by 21,000 business representatives helped position this as a pro-business, pro-citizen issue, and to shift the positions of Germany and Canada, resulting in an historic agreement that can get governments to work together to stop tax evasion. The 'Lough Erne Declaration' was short on specifics, but gives us huge leverage in chasing governments to block shady tax schemes.

It's an amazing thing to be part of a community of citizens from every corner of the world, united in common and effective action. Click here to see a map of our membership by country, or here to read personal stories from and even correspond with other Avaazers.

Our sleeping giant is waking, bringing tremendous possibilities for change. Can't wait to see what our community does next.

With love, hope, and crazy appreciation for this world-changing community,

Ricken, Jamie, Oli, Alex, Dalia, Joseph, Laura, Mais, Michelle and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS -- Inspired to change something? Many Avaaz campaigns (like our biggest during the Brazil and Turkey protests) are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue - local, national or global:

PPS -- Every single one of these campaigns was 100% funded by our community. To maintain our independence, Avaaz does not accept funding from governments, corporations, foundations or large donors. This is extremely rare and a huge part of why we're effective -- chip in to help keep it all going: is a 24-million-person global campaign network
that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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