People around the world are realizing that our lives are now gripped by the coronavirus. Borders have closed, systems are falling apart, and for the first time in a very long time, the whole world is fighting a common enemy.

Now, more than ever, our future depends on a collaborative effort between citizens and decision-makers to provide each person with a stable sense of security and a powerful sense of hope. With community-wide quarantines being implemented left and right and with so many economic changes, that means a big part of our lives are falling into the hands of the people who lead us. Even if, sadly, some of those hands are not as “clean” as we hope.

In uncertain times, we need to demand stronger democracies.

In the age of coronavirus where we can’t march in the streets and block the sun with our placards, this vision should not be any different. For this reason, that collaborative effort must also exist online.

Jessica, a childbirth support professional from New York City for example, started an online campaign asking that women going into labor in NYC hospitals be allowed to bring support people into the delivery room with them. Requests such as these may have otherwise gone unnoticed by the local government if not for the online community’s persistence in raising the issue with their decision-makers. Two weeks later, the campaign was declared a victory.

Luz from Colombia started a petition asking for their local banks to freeze credits and interest during the pandemic: “These are unique moments in our history when many people will be unemployed…Right now, money cannot be above life, health, and people.” The campaign platform notified the decision-makers about the petition and soon enough, several banks responded to the campaign online. Luz’ petition achieved a victory with more than 300,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, local business owners and employees of restaurants and coffee shops in several countries like India have gathered in solidarity to raise their concerns online. Their campaign asks for their government to ease operational expenses during the lockdown and to allocate sufficient funding to support employees of the food and beverage industry–people at risk of losing their jobs. More than 30,000 people, as of writing, have signed the petition and have virtually rallied behind the campaign.

In uncertain times, you don’t have to feel so powerless.

More and more ordinary people around the world now have access to online tools and websites such as change.org that allow them to act rapidly in communicating their needs. 

While we stay at home, collaborating with decision-makers and holding them accountable online are simple yet powerful ways we can help, not only in “flattening the curve” but also in easing the struggles of citizens whose lives must simply carry on.