Why I Started a Petition

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Mother Teresa

There are many things I believe in. One of these is equality. Another is that every single one of us has the potential to make a difference.

This February, the UK Government and Parliament Petitions team approved and published a petition I created:

Provide 24 hour concessionary travel for disabled people.

Commuting for standard 9-5 working hours is not supported by the current concessionary travel scheme in England, which currently provides off-peak travel from 9:30am. I am proud to live in a country that boasts its commitment to equality in the workplace, yet I recognise that many barriers still exist.

We often recognise flaws in the system, or barriers to success, yet choose to observe rather than act. Here are 4 reasons that led me to start a petition.

1. I have a Voice

In the UK, we have a legal right to free speech, to have a voice. Yet so many people don’t feel they have a voice, or that theirs is either not valid or less valid than others. Every voice counts. For that reason, I will use my voice not only to express my views, but also to encourage others to use theirs, and to be a voice on behalf of others who choose to be silent but still want to be heard.

2. Personal Experience

The reason I know that concessionary bus passes are not valid until after 9:30am is because I used to have one. At 19, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Anyone who has a seizure is not able to drive until one year after their last seizure. Being able to drive is something I view as an underrated freedom.

That experience opened my eyes to the experiences of others. To those who will never drive because of their disabilities, who are deterred from applying to jobs because of the working pattern or the commute, who think that work isn’t a place for them.

3. The System Exists

Whilst recent years have arguably shown us the highs and lows of living in a democratic society, the system of being able to influence parliamentary debate surely counts in favour of democracy. The e-petitions site was set up by the UK Government in 2006 and re-launched in 2011 to include the prospect of debate if 100,000 signatures are reached on a petition. Anyone can start a petition, as long as they are a British citizen or a UK resident.

The system has already impacted the sugar tax, meningitis B vaccination and brain tumour research funding. It is so straightforward, which made me feel there is nothing to lose and potentially so much to gain.

4. Workplace Inequality

I have worked across different industries and company sizes, nationally and globally. Workplace inequality still exists. I work in HR and it has been ethically challenging at times, because my focus is not merely on quotas, brand image and short-term wins. There are a phenomenal number of companies that claim to prioritise their people above all else. It makes sense, as it is the people who get the work done after all. The sad truth is, so few do.

I believe in workplace equality, I believe in equality. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I hope to support the journey by spreading awareness, encouraging change and building momentum.

If you would like to sign the petition, please go to http://bit.ly/24hrtravel. It will take 2 minutes and every signature matters. Please remember to click the link of the email that will land in your inbox straight away.

To find out more about the campaign and the petition itself, or to spread the word on social media, please check out the campaign page.

Thank you for reading, for signing and for sharing.


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