Thursday, March 31, 2011

JAPAN:A thank-you letter from Masaya Uchino

Almost all of my family lives in Japan. So when the earthquake hit, I tried to help in every way I could, including by donating via text message to relief efforts. 

But then I learned that text donations like mine could take up to 90 days to get there. I waited for days to learn that my family was safe, now others were waiting months for my donation!

So I launched a petition on calling on the phone companies to immediately deliver donations to Japan, the same way they did after the earthquake in Haiti.

It worked! Hundreds, then thousands added their voices. My senator, Barbara Boxer, took up the cause. I was interviewed by the major news programs in San Francisco, where I go to law school.

More than 66,000 of us spoke out and now AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have finally agreed to expedite text-message donations to Japan.

Northern Japan has an incredibly difficult path to recovery -- the earthquake and tsunami both physically and financially devastated the affected areas -- and there’s a lot more that each of us can do. But the immediate transfer of donations is going to be of enormous assistance, and my hope is that this victory sets a pattern for how cell phone companies act during future disasters. 

This all happened because, at the encouragement of a few friends, I started a petition. If there’s something you want to change, click here to start your own, and I’ll do my best to stand with you the way that you stood with me: 

Thank you again. And please continue to keep the people of Japan in your thoughts and prayers.

- Masaya Uchino, fellow member