A petition is similar to a letter zap because it demonstrates how many people support your demands. Unlike a zap, it does not cause any inconvenience to your target and so it is a good early step. To organize a petition, draft a fairly brief (two paragraphs is a good length) statement outlining who you are (ex.: "We, the undersigned, are students at Smith High School ..."), what the problem is (ex.:we are concerned that large numbers of our classmantes are becoming pregnant, contracting STDs, and putting themselves at risk for HIV infection through unprotected sex"), and what you are demanding (ex.: "We are demanding that condom vending machines be placed in every bathroom at Smith High ..."). Below the statement put space for people to both sign and print their names. If you are conducting your petiton in a school, grade level and student ID number might be good things to include. If your target is an elected official and the people signing your petition are voters make sure they include their addresses so the politician can see that these people really live in the area he/she represents. Remember, the statement must appear on top of every sheet of signatures so that no one can say that people didn't know what they were signing. After you've gotten as many signatures as possible, make a copy of the entire petition. It is important that you keep a copy in case the petition accidentally or intentionally disappears. In order to increase the pressure on your target, it often is a good idea to present the petition at some type of public event, like a rally, speak out, or press conference. Having reporters there also increases the pressure.
- Speak Outs
How to Organize an Action At Your School
ACT UP/New York