• Lucy Bennett-Baggs

The (potential) power of unity

Updated: Jul 19

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

Blog updated: Monday 12th July (post Euro 2020 Championship final)

Sport, in particular, football (soccer) has whipped much of Europe and far beyond into a frenzy these last few weeks, with the return of UEFA Euro 2020. After such a long period of sports worldwide being banned, heavily restricted or feeling somewhat soulless from the lack of spectators and and people being forced to consume in the isolation of their own homes, it was amazing to see a small pocket of the world come together again and unite over our shared love of a ball game! I was deeply saddened however, to see the worst side of human nature also appear throughout the competition.

In the first instance, when Germany lost to England last week, a few England fans mocked and trolled a young German fan after she was shown crying at the loss of her team. There was some redeemable action taken however, with an online fundraiser (now closed) being created to show the young German fan (and the world) that “not everyone in the UK is horrible.” This fundraiser quickly climbed past its original £500 goal to raise over £36,000 ($50,000USD) and has been donated to Unicef, at the little girl’s request.

Young German fan reacting to Euro 2020 result
[Image credit: ITV] Online abuse hits new lows following games in the Euro 2020 Championship.

The second instance was just last night after the Euro 2020 final, which saw England lose in penalties to Italy, 3-2. England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subsequently targeted with racist abuse on social media.

Bukayo Saka is consoled by team mates after England's loss in the final of the Euro 2020 Championship.
[Image credit: ITV] The England football team come together over defeat in the final of the Euro 2020 Championship

However, seemingly because many games took place during COVID-19 restrictions without fans, social media has been used even more so than usual by fans reacting to the events of the competition and as a way to express their emotions, thoughts and opinions- which is what it is there to do! However, in the process has unleashed the ugliest side of society becoming a public hotbed for racism, xenophobia and bullying.

It is imperative that we do more here to put an end to online abuse once and for all. This includes calling on social media companies to finally take a step up by taking accountability and banning these abusers from their platforms, as well as rallying local governments to bring in legislation to end this abhorrent abuse.

It will now be interesting to see the response to this abuse, and how we come together, not only in terms of money raised but as a community to finally clamp down on tolerance of this behaviour and look to drive systematic and fundamental change.

This is in fact one of the areas I am most excited about seeing come to life on Force for Good: the spontaneous and reactive good that we can do as a single community. Now, just imagine if these changemakers were already in one place, connected to charities, causes, businesses, influencers and everyday people ready and waiting to get behind something, to stand up together and make a genuine and significant difference- just imagine what could be achieved then. Luckily, it’s not so far away.

The Force for Good app is launching soon, built to bring people, charities and companies together to drive change and make a bigger impact.

Join the waitlist to hear about the launch.

Together, we can be a force for good 💪

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