2023 Standout Petitions

Houston is one of Change.org’s top change-making cities of 2023

As we close out 2023, Change.org has compiled a list of the cities with the most active changemakers and their respective petitions. While cities across the U.S. contributed significantly to the tapestry of change, Houston lands in the top ten – with the fourth most petitions created in 2023. 

Below, you can find a list of ten standout petitions that focused on Houston, as well as the full list of our top change-making cities of 2023. The petitions below demonstrate inspiring stories of resilience and courage, and the power of local advocacy to shape a community.  


  1. Ban Euthanasia of Shelter Animals With more than 50,000 signatures, this petition by Shonali Lothe and Arushi Srinivasan, addresses the alarming rate of healthy shelter animals being euthanized due to lack of space, particularly in the context of gas chamber use. The petition calls for a nationwide “NO KILL” policy, increased funding for shelters, mandatory spaying/neutering, regulations on pet stores and breeders, and rehabilitation efforts for abandoned pets.
  2. Stop the Eviction of Pappas Restaurants from HobbyThis petition, initiated by the Pappas family, expresses disappointment in the Houston City Council’s decision against keeping their restaurants at Hobby Airport. Despite over 50,000 signatures supporting their cause, the airport did not side with the family – but the Pappas pledge to offer jobs to affected team members at their street-side locations and appreciates the overwhelming support from the community. 
  3. Keep Early Dismissal For HISD HS FinalsWith more than 15,000 signatures, this petition criticizes an order by the Houston Independent School District Superintendent, which eliminates early dismissal for students, teachers, and staff after final exams. The petition argues that these changes, focused on attendance and increased funding, prioritize financial gains over the well-being and academic success of students, demonstrating the power of students to mobilize against decisions they perceive as detrimental to their education and overall experience.
  4. Should dangerous domestic abusers have guns?This petition, initiated by the Houston Area Women’s Center, calls on the Supreme Court to affirm that dangerous domestic abusers, subject to protective orders, should not have a constitutional right to possess firearms. With almost 8,000 signatures, this petition highlights the alarming statistics of domestic violence-related gun homicides and emphasizes the life-and-death importance of keeping guns out of abusers’ hands.
  5. Save Montrose’s Live Oak Trees! Preserve Our Shade CanopyThis petition, started by Jonna Hitchcock, opposes the Montrose Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone’s plan to widen sidewalks on Montrose Boulevard by cutting down mature live oak trees, highlighting the negative environmental impact and irreparable loss of natural heritage. With more than 7,000 signatures, the petition urges reconsideration of the plan, emphasizing the importance of preserving the shade canopy and advocating for alternative solutions that balance pedestrian safety and environmental conservation.
  6. Recognize Eid ul Fitr as a Student or District Wide Holiday in FBISDStarted by Samina Quddos, this petition with over 3,000 signatures urges Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD) to recognize Eid ul Fitr as a district-wide holiday, emphasizing that nearly 10% of students face a dilemma between attending school and celebrating this significant religious holiday. Samina notes this change could enhance the learning experience for all students, reduce disruptions caused by absences, and foster a more inclusive and diverse educational environment.
  7. Bring Zack Shahin – Illegally Detained, Dying, American Citizen – HomeMeera Shahin started this petition with more than 2,800 signatures that urges officials to collaborate and secure the medical pardon and release of Zack Shahin, a Lebanese American from Texas, who has been wrongfully detained in Dubai since 2008. Shahin, suffering from severe health issues, including cardiovascular and neurological problems, thyroid, gastro, and prostate illnesses, along with infections causing tissue decay, is currently in a Dubai hospital, and the petition emphasizes the urgent need for his return to Houston, Texas, for proper medical attention and treatment.
  8. Stop the Destructive Fence Threatening Wildlife and Destroying Watershed Bernadette Lucero started this petition with more than 2,600 signatures that raises concerns about the negative impact of an 8-foot fence installed along the 83,000-acre La Sierra mountain in Costilla County, Colorado. Owned by William Bruce Harrison of Houston, Texas, the fence is causing habitat loss, endangering wildlife, disrupting migratory paths, and damaging natural habitats, including those of endangered species. The petition calls for immediate action to reassess the project, mitigate adverse effects, and consider alternative solutions prioritizing wildlife conservation, watershed protection, and acequia preservation.
  9. Rebuild Houston’s Beloved Historic Bar & RestaurantPeter Gilbride started a petition with more than 2,400 signatures that seeks support for rebuilding Griff’s Irish Pub, a beloved local institution in Houston that tragically burned down in January 2023. Despite plans to remodel and meet city criteria, the petition emphasizes concerns about unexpected demands, urging authorities to facilitate progress in rebuilding and preserve the historic and cultural significance of Griff’s Irish Pub in the community.
  10. Mayor Turner & TIRZ 27: Create a Landmark to Honor Montrose LGBTQ History This victorious petition, started by Nelson Vergel with more than 1,600 signatures, called for the integration of Montrose’s LGBTQ+ history into the landscape design of the Montrose Boulevard redevelopment and Westheimer/Elgin projects in Houston. It suggested incorporating historical milestones on plaques into paving, pedestrian light posts, or landscaping retaining walls to preserve and honor Montrose’s significant LGBTQ+ history, which played a pivotal role in the gay liberation movement and is an essential part of the neighborhood’s cultural identity.

You can find a list of ten petitions here. Our top ten change-making cities in order are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, Dallas, and Charlotte. 

This list was compiled by Christina Martin, Change.org’s Senior Local Media Specialist. Are you a member of the press who would like to write about a Change.org petition? Christina can help. Email cmartin@change.org with your inquiry.

Written by
Communications at Change.org
January 25, 2024 11:14 pm