Over the last week, riots all over the United States have emerged in reaction to the death of George Floyd. On May 25, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, even after Floyd kept saying he couldn’t breathe. Floyd later died in police custody.
The incident occurred in Minnesota but has resonated all over the country. Floyd’s tragic death is only the latest in a long line of unjust deaths at the hands of police brutality—a systemic issue that disproportionately affects the black community. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people and were 24% of those killed in 2019 despite being only 13% of the population.
Various figures in the gaming community — from individual people to esports organizations — have stepped up to support #BlackLivesMatter, recognize the riots as the language of the unheard, and stand against systemic racism.
Top streamers like Jacksepticeye, Ninja, Mtashed, and Gothalion have spoken up.
“A riot is the language of the unheard” – Martin Luther King Jr.
These people are not “opportunistic” or “thugs”. They’re tired of your shitty system and normalised racism. How are we STILL debating this stuff in 2020? #BlackLivesMatter
— Jacksepticeye (@Jack_Septic_Eye) May 29, 2020
A black reporter @OmarJimenez gets arrested with valid media credentials while cooperating with police (all filmed live) and George’s murderer is still free tells you all you need to know about America’s problems. I stand with the Black community, and all races. #JusticeForFloyd
— Ninja (@Ninja) May 29, 2020
I don’t care that I “just make gaming videos”. Racism is a plague that needs to be dealt with head on. We need to teach our children, and we need to stop being ok with it: pic.twitter.com/E3Ec11Zcfi
— Mtashed (@MTashed) May 29, 2020
I’ll never have to explain to my son why his life is by default unfair because of the color of his skin, and I cant imagine how impossible that feeling even is. I’m tired of seeing blatant racism and folks act like its not time to speak. We have to do better.
— Gothalion (@Gothalion) May 29, 2020
Designer and Developer Catt Small offered some practical advice and resources.
— Catt Small (@cattsmall) May 29, 2020
— Catt Small (@cattsmall) May 30, 2020
Famous personalities like Malik Forté, Gamer President Ace Watkins, Jonathan Larsson, and Marshmello, who hosted the first Fortnite concert, have also tweeted on the events.
The situation in Minneapolis is very similar to something I lived through as a teenager. I remember protesting as it was the same neighborhood as my school. And like this situation, it started with peaceful protest and was escalated by the policehttps://t.co/3HqWZWxlPG
— Malik Forté 🎤 (@Malik4Play) May 28, 2020
— Ace Watkins (@GamerPres2020) May 29, 2020
— Jonathan Larsson (@Reinforce) May 30, 2020
— marshmello (@marshmellomusic) May 29, 2020
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Esports teams like The Overwatch League’s Florida Mayhem, Los Angeles Valiant, Washington Justice, and Toronto Defiant have also chosen to publicly stand with Black Lives Matter. Atlanta Reign has retweeted in solidarity, as well.
A statement from the Mayhem front office and staff: pic.twitter.com/qIj4mrzxpb
— FLMayhem (@FLMayhem) May 28, 2020
His name was George Floyd.
We cannot be silent in the face of racism and injustice in our country. It is irresponsible not to speak up while innocent people face insufferable discrimination each day.
“Hatred is born of ignorance: fear is its father, and isolation its mother.”
— Los Angeles Valiant (@LAValiant) May 27, 2020
Say his name: George Floyd.
To stay silent is to do nothing. We must stand with our voices loud against discrimination.#BlackLivesMatter
— Washington Justice (@washjustice) May 28, 2020
Say their names: George Floyd. Regis Korchinski-Paquet. We won't stay silent – not only on this past week's events, but on the injustice and racism many face daily. Toronto Defiant stands with every person who faces discrimination in Canada, the US, and around the world. Always.
— Toronto Defiant 🖤 #RiseTogether (@TorontoDefiant) May 30, 2020
After the publishing of this article, the Los Angeles Gladiators published a statement of support for the movement, as well.
— Los Angeles Gladiators (@LAGladiators) May 31, 2020
Call of Duty League team Minnesota RØKKR has also released a statement of support for George Floyd and all communities affected by racism and violence.
— Minnesota RØKKR (@ROKKR) May 28, 2020
ASTRO Gaming has published a lengthy statement of support.
— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) May 29, 2020
After this article was published, Twitch tweeted a statement in support of Black Lives Matter.
— Twitch (@Twitch) May 30, 2020
Developers Riot Games and Summerfall Studios have also committed statements of solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
— Summerfall Studios (@summerfallgames) May 31, 2020
— Riot Games (@riotgames) May 31, 2020
Publisher Annapurna Interactive has tweeted a thread of official support.
we try to bring different experiences & viewpoints with the games we publish, and they can also be an escape from reality. but now is not the time to ignore what’s happened for hundreds of years and still continues: racism, injustice, inequality against the black community.
— Annapurna Interactive (@A_i) May 31, 2020
In an admirable statement, Electronic Arts has announced the cancelation of its plans to showcase Madden NFL 21 on June 1. It is choosing to instead focus on standing in support with the Black community and against racial injustice.
An official statement from EA SPORTS pic.twitter.com/MKdgJjvKJB
— Madden NFL 20 (@EAMaddenNFL) May 31, 2020
Latinx in Gaming has also declared solidarity.
In the light of the unrest happening all over our country, LXIG wants to firmly stand alongside our Black brothers and sisters, Latinx or not.
We see you. We support you. We stand by you.
Pueblo unido jamas sera vencido. #BlackLivesMatter
— Latinx in Gaming (@LatinosinGaming) May 31, 2020
Sony has come out in support of Black Lives Matter. “Actions always speak louder than words. And we’re working hard to make sure we at Sony are doing more than just stating we are allies. Right now, we want to use our platform to spread information & support. Please send links, resources, or other helpful information our way, and we’ll share them. When we all know more, we can do more,” stated the brand in follow-up tweets.
— Sony (@Sony) May 31, 2020
Bethesda has also tweeted an image with text of support.
— Bethesda (@bethesda) June 1, 2020
Regarding the importance of game development companies coming out to support black people and people of color right now, Danny Peña from Gamertag Radio excellently summarizes it in the following clip.
I had a couple things to say during the recording of our #podcast about the #NYCProtest. Also where are all these gaming companies that keep talking about diversity as a core value? We have only heard statements from @ASTROGaming, @Twitch and a couple of esports organizations. pic.twitter.com/Wflvnbl0Vu
— Danny Peña (@godfree) May 31, 2020
We hope to see the number of figures and organizations who come out in support of Black Lives Matter and justice to grow. We also hope the gaming community will continue to support black people and people of color when they aren’t trending or dying. There is a better, more just world possible — and it starts with us demanding it.
Black and POC-led gaming organizations you can support:
Here are some black and people of color gaming organizations and communities you can always give your support to.
Spawn On Me, the industry’s definitive podcast that spotlights people of color. You can watch their incredibly important stream regarding this week’s events above.
Black Girl Gamers, an organization dedicated to uplifting the voices of black women in gaming. The organization will have an online summit on June 13.
Black Girls Code, which is dedicated to empowering black girls and girls of color to code and become the tech marketplace builders of today and tomorrow.
I Need Diverse Games, an inclusivity organization dedicated to diversifying the landscape of video games.
Black Girl Nerds, not gaming-specific but nonetheless dedicated to covering pop culture from the perspectives of nerdy black women.
Game Devs of Color Expo, an event (which will be going virtual this September!) organized to highlight POC game developers and provide a forum to learn, connect, and support the community.
The Cookout, a safe space for content creators of color that pushes for inclusivity on all streaming and gaming platforms.
Organizations for the cause that you can donate to:
If you can’t go out to protest, especially in the age of COVID-19, here are some places you can donate to if you have the means. Even a dollar helps.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund has asked that, due to the overwhelming support, donations be made to organizations like:
A thread with more funds you can donate to.
Resources to help, including crisis lines:
Here’s a publicly sourced “resources masterlist” for those in need. While not entirely focused on protesting and protecting yourself from police violence, it includes place to reach out if you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide and self-harm, domestic abuse, grief, and really just too many painful things to list off here. Big thanks to Aiden Strawhun for curating this list for a while now.
Other ways to be an ally:
Here are other ways through which you can fight for the cause.
Don’t share photos or videos of black bodies being brutalized, or of protesters so that they are not easily identified by law enforcement.
Text FLOYD to 55156 and sign the petition.
Use this incredible and long Google document with links to various petitions, even more funds you can donate to, ways to educate yourself on supporting protesters (or supporting yourself as one with this medic guide), and more.
Use your platform to speak out. Educate your racist family members and friends. Protest safely. Stand against racism and injustice.
We hope that one day, there is justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and every black person whose life has been robbed by the police, caught on film and otherwise.