A controversial, mostly-mainland-oriented for-profit organization called change.org is giving Hawaii petitioners professional advice in the dispute about opening up businesses, churches and even theaters despite the ongoing COVID-19 threat.
It’s helping promote a local petition which says: “INSANE SCARE TACTICS from Hawaii’s leadership. Just quarantine those over 70. Those with weak immunity, it’s up to you. THE REST OF HAWAII NEEDS TO RE-OPEN. Re-open the churches. Re-open the restaurants. Re-open the small businesses. Re-open the city streets. Re-open the parks. Re-open the beaches. Re-open the airports. Re-open the gyms. Re-open Ala Moana Mall. Re-open Diamond Head Theater. Re-open Waikiki. Re-open Ward 16. Re-open Iolani Palace. Re-open HAWAII.”
Change.org claims 366,757,000 members. It’s what is called a “B Corporation” (B for benefit) and claims positive impacts on society, workers, the community and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals. Yes, it pay taxes if there’s a profit after it pays its 180 executives and staff members. Hawaii is one of 35 states recognizing B Corps.
One of its benefactors of late has been Pierre Omidyar of Honolulu, proprietor or Civil Beat and the Ulupono Initiative. The Omidyar Network has chipped in $15 million.
Here’s the rest of the petition to move Hawaii leaders away from the current shutdown:
“Just quarantine those over 70. The rest of Hawaii needs to LIVE. People are days away from begging for bread. Seriously.
“If Ige, Green, and Caldwell want to save a life so badly, then permanently close Hanauma Bay because 27 people have drowned in the last two years. Close H1 because 140 died in car accidents in Hawaii last year. Ban smoking because 314 people died of lung cancer in Hawaii last year. Ban McDonalds because 2,900 people died in Hawaii last year of coronary disease. These are TRUE FACTS.”
It also claims the virus “can’t withstand 80 degree heat” and so we and other warm climes have relatively few deaths. FactCheck, however, says sunshine does not kill this virus.
Change.org has been accused of fooling hiding the fact that it is a for-profit entity that has an economic incentive to get people to sign petitions.
It says in its mission statement that “We help people reach the business and government leaders whose decisions impact their lives, giving them the power they deserve. Connecting advocates and decision makers facilitates meaningful changes in policies, laws and business practices.”
It also sells what it calls its expert petition advice. “Most people who start petitions are new to the world of advocacy and activism. Our staff provide advice for mobilizing support, generating media interest and lobbying elected officials.”
How is the Hawaii petition doing? Earlier today (4/30), Change said there were 674 signatures and that it is seeking 1,000.