• Lucy Bennett-Baggs

Social Justice: The Gameshow

The 3am diaries by CEO & Founder, Lucy Bennett-Baggs

Let’s face it, ‘woke’ attitudes towards social and environmental justice are trendy right now. Plus, with the horrors of climate devastation and a global pandemic making it more difficult to turn away from our social media and tv screens, it was only a matter of time before TV producers decided to make a reality tv show out of it.

‘The Activist’ produced by Global Citizen, is essentially a social justice spin on The Apprentice or The Voice, with six activists battling it out to promote their causes in front of a panel of celebrity judges.

Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough are set to co-host the Global Citizen competition series from CBS, The Activist.

Teams are judged on their online engagement, social stats and input from the judges, with the winning team heading to the G20 Summit in Italy where they will try to secure “funding and invaluable awareness for their cause” from global leaders. According to the CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, the show is an “unprecedented example of how entertainment can change the world”.

But on the whole, the internet (somewhat unsurprisingly), has issues with the show, in three parts:

1. Pitting causes against each other.

From the horrors of climate change, to the issues of healthcare during the pandemic, to the ongoing needs in education, poverty, racism, gender equality, hunger, animal welfare, disease, access to clean water, mental health and literally thousands of other highly worthy, urgent issues that need addressing in the world today - but can any one single cause really more worthy than another? In fact, we should argue that today's most dynamic social movements work on multiple issues and understand that we can't tackle climate change without addressing racial justice, or education or health without addressing poverty or the environment.

2. Measuring successful activism on online engagement and social metrics.

Campaigns are ultimately not quantifiable or deemed worthy by how many views were clocked on TikTok. While social media can, has, and will continue to be used in transformative ways through politics and supportive in driving social change, the reductionist nature of the internet has created a new breed of empty activism. For example, a single signature on an online-petition does not (necessarily) solve for the change being championed. There is then, also the implication that you only need to ask the policy maker and all will be magically solved.

3. The element of hostile competition.

Finally, the show creates winners and losers instead of leaning into the collaborative nature of activism and empowering individuals to come together to make a difference in this world. Philanthropy should ultimately be something people do collaboratively for maximum impact and in solidarity rather than competition with each other.

So whilst the show will undoubtedly bring great focus to a number of key and critical causes, we should really consider whether this is in fact the best way of driving change and achieving large scale and tangible impact. Yes, there needs to be a philanthropy revolution, but is this really the best way to bring this to the world?

At Force for Good we are setting about to democratise philanthropy and give equitable power to all charities to reach out to a global network of donors, as well as making it easy for individuals to come together to drive greater change and make a bigger impact in a measurable way. From fundraising campaigns and challenges, to turning your workout into one that gives back, and connecting with ready-made community groups (Impact Circles); charities and individuals can decide where and how they generate impact.

Interested in being a part of it? Why not join the waitlist with the thousands of other changemakers already waiting come together and play their role in driving change and making an impact.

Together we can be a Force for Good 💪

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