There's much darkness in the world, but from democracy and media to climate change, human rights and elephants, Avaaz is on fire!!!
Scroll down to read all about it, but first, just look at one-year-old Mateo, back with his parents after being torn from them by Trump’s border guards and locked up for months. Can you imagine how scared he was?
They’re back together because our movement funded top-notch lawyers to fight for their freedom, giving hope to Mateo and hundreds of children like him.
But it’s not just Mateo -- we’re carrying the sparks of hope into the darkest places, and setting the world ablaze! Look at what we’ve got done together in the past few months!
The spread of hate online is one of the biggest threats we face, boosting the far-right’s divisive agenda everywhere. Mateo was just one of millions of victims. So when Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg came to Washington to answer for fake news and the fake accounts that spread it, we launched our global call for action against this threat to our democracies.
We installed hundreds of Zuckerberg ‘bots’ on the Capitol lawn, and ended up as front page news in the New York Times, and in over 500 other outlets around the world, including CNN and The Washington Post. Our team held dozens of advocacy meetings with governments, legislators and Facebook executives -- we're starting to see progress!
Global media mogul Rupert Murdoch speaks to Donald Trump almost every day. He owns Fox News, the US TV network that put Trump in power and whipped up the heartless politics that saw Mateo locked up. He seemed unstoppable when he tried to take control of Europe's largest broadcaster, Sky -- until Avaaz got involved! Here’s what Bloomberg said about it:
"When Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox launched its bid for the rest of Sky, few investors expected its progress to be held up for long. Then Avaaz, a political advocacy group little known in financial circles, got involved."
We investigated his media empire, brought high-profile whistleblowers to Britain, took key decision makers to court, and got Murdoch’s scandal all over the media. And now Murdoch’s dream of turning Sky into a global Fox News and reshaping European politics lies in tatters -- like his reputation!
When global mining giant Agnico threatened the fragile heart of the forest with a massive goldmine, we teamed up with indigenous groups to fight it. No one thought Agnico would drop the project -- but after we flooded their headquarters with letters and phone calls, it took just a few days for them to pull out!
We, from Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre thank Avaaz members everywhere!
And that’s not all. Just a few days ago, we brought together indigenous leaders from all over the Amazon for a summit on creating a massive corridor of protected areas and indigenous territories through the forest -- a giant leap towards our goal of protecting half our planet to stop the extinction crisis!
The news spread all over the world -- check out what Leo DiCaprio thought about it:
Can you imagine opening the newspaper to see your face splashed across a full page, calling on you to take urgent action to stop funding the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, signed by over 700,000 people? Well that’s how the boss of insurance giant Munich RE must have felt when we took out an ad in the Financial Times calling on him to drop coal on the day of a big industry meeting. Coal can’t survive without insurance, and Munich RE called up Avaaz to say "well played". Guess what happened a few weeks later? Munich RE announced it was beginning to dump coal insurance and investments!
It started with a hunch that much of the "antique" ivory sold across Europe wasn't antique at all, and actually illegal. We knew the ivory trade was pushing these amazing animals to extinction, so tens of thousands of Avaaz members donated, we bought ivory across the continent and had it tested at Oxford University ... and found that three quarters of it was illegal ivory covering up a bloody trade.
When we released our results in a hard-hitting report it generated a massive wave of media coverage from the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian and lots more. The news ricocheted around Europe, and when we displayed the ivory and our findings outside the office of the Environment Commissioner, he agreed to a last-minute meeting and promised action to protect elephants:
"The ivory report funded by Avaaz members is a very important and helpful contribution as we consider how best to protect these magnificent giants."
We’re also on the ground in Africa! Tens of thousands of us donated to train and equip 1000 elite wildlife rangers to protect the continent’s amazing animals from the poaching catastrophe. This could be a game changer -- and check out what they’ll have on their uniforms!
When Israeli troops gunned down hundreds of unarmed Palestinian protesters in May, the world looked the other way. But not us -- Avaaz jumped in to show that Palestinian Lives Matter. On the eve of a key EU meeting, Avaaz members collected thousands of pairs of shoes, representing the lives of every single victim of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and laid them all out in Brussels. It was impossible to ignore:
The image was splashed all over the world’s media and went viral in Palestine as a symbol that the world had not forgotten about them. A month later, we launched a major campaign and even brought Palestinian farmers to talk with Irish lawmakers. Then the Irish Senate passed a groundbreaking bill banning the purchase of products from illegal Israeli settlements. That’s the first time it’s happened and this could be a HUGE tipping point for justice and accountability...other countries could follow soon!
There can be few more hopeless places on Earth than an Israeli military prison. But that’s where Palestinian teenager Ahed found herself, after being arrested for standing up to troops. Her Dad was beside himself with worry -- then he wrote a heartfelt email to the Avaaz community, 1.7 million of us got on board, funded her lawyers, and after 8 months in a cell, Ahed was freed. Here she is enjoying her first taste of freedom!
When I read this altogether, it’s breathtaking. We’re not just winning, we’re doing it beautifully, keeping that precious flame of hope burning bright as the darkness gathers around us. One day, we’ll pass it to the next generation, to freedom fighters like Ahed, and then to children like Mateo. But before then, there are many battles for us to win. And because of this amazing movement, I know we’ll prevail -- and light up the world as we do it!
- Bert Wander, Avaaz, August 31, 2018