The Pokémon Community takes a stand.
On May 25, 2020, an African American man by the name of George Floyd was killed as the result of police brutality in the United States. This has sparked a variety of protests, both online and in the streets of cities not just in the United States, but around the world, protesting the repeated wrongful treatment against those of a different skin color due to systematic racism. While the offending officers in Floyd’s case have all been charged, many others have yet to receive justice due to them. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and countless other African Americans have had their cases left without a proper and just resolution.
This is unfair.
It shouldn’t need to be stated by now that no one deserves to be treated differently because of their skin color. But this does not change the fact that it is happening and we are now witnessing a unprecedented movement against the systematic racism that results in police brutality. Our tagline at Pokémon Crossroads has always been “Write. Draw. Play. Share.” It has never mattered who a person was, we believed that their creations should be supported and shared for others to enjoy. In this same vein of thought, we believe that together a fandom we should stand together with those facing injustices. In a franchise as diverse as Pokémon, there is no room for oppression. We at Pokémon Crossroads stand in solidarity with the African American members of our community. Black lives matter.
If you’re interested in showing your support for the movement, in donating, or doing something similar, I am including a few links below that can direct you towards ways to advocate and make change.
In general to learn more about the movement, please check out https://blacklivesmatter.carrd.co/
If you’re looking to support African American businesses in your area, please consider looking at https://www.afrobizworld.com/
If you’re looking for petitions to sign, here is a list https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#petitions
If you’re looking for other places to donate to, this website also has a list that can help navigate you to exactly where you want to donate https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#donate
If you’re looking to call, text, or email in order to achieve justice, here is a list of every possible way to do so https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#text
If you have an election coming out, please be sure to go out and vote. If you are planning to attend a protest, please be safe and stay hydrated. And in general if you’re looking for more ways to show your support, search up businesses, GoFundMes, and other donation drives in your area.
And we are not the only ones in the Pokémon community standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter. Several others have taken a strong stance against racism.
The Pokémon Company
Among the many corporations to take a stand was the Pokémon Company itself. On June 3, they issued an official statement declaring that they had donated $100,000 to the NAACP and $100,000 to Black Lives Matter to show their support for the African American members of the community. While many were initially shocked by the move, in a franchise that from its debut included African American characters as Gym Leaders and as a main character in the television show, and has continued to produce diverse character designs both in the NPCs and through character customization, it only makes sense that they would take a stand.
In addition, what many fans don’t realize is that the person behind the Pokémon Company’s social media is African American. Known as @princessology on both Instagram and Twitter, Chaka Cumberbatch-Tinsley is the social media manager for Pokémon and part of the reason their social media posts have seen increased relevancy and interactivity since she took over. In additions, Chaka is also the creator of #28DaysOfBlackCosplay, a trend that has been going on for six years now to celebrate and create more visibility for African American cosplayers during Black History month. Not only is she a great example of how diverse the art of cosplay can be, but she’s done a wonderful job generating a lot of laughs and smiles as the social media manager for Pokémon as a whole, and we hope she continues to do so.
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) June 3, 2020
Another company to take a stand was the developers behind Pokémon GO, Niantic. They released a long statement in a blog post on their official website titled “Taking Action”. In the blog post, Niantic details how they have also chosen to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and their African American employees. They also recommend employees reach out to their co-workers, HR, and leadership if they need to support. But they also take it a step forward by detailing what they plan to do in order to further show support for the movement. In the blog post they state that they be donating Niantic proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest 2020 ticket sales, committing a minimum of $5 million. This is broken down to where roughly $2.5 million “will be used to fund new projects from Black gaming and AR creators that can live on the Niantic platform, with the ultimate goal of increasing content that represents a more diverse view on the world,” while the other $2.5 million will “go to US nonprofit organizations that are helping local communities rebuild”. They will also be donating $100,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and doing an employee match of up to $50,000. Their reasoning is “Black trans people continue to be killed at higher rates than Black cis people and non-Black LGBTQ+ people”. This serves not only as a way to tribute the BLM movement but also to page homage to Pride Month as well.
This is not all though. In addition to their financial donations, Niantic is also committing themselves to be a better environment for people of all backgrounds. As a result they are developing new Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) training with a specific focus on allyship training. They are upping their commitment to Treehouse, an organization dedicated to diversifying tech by making education more accessible. They are expanding their partnership with Gameheads a nonprofit that teaches kids how to develop games from beginning to end and many other internal efforts to promote diversity and getting involved with the community.
You can read all about it in more depth here.
We’re also not the only Pokémon fan organization to show their support for the movement. As previously highlighted in our Podcast Central article released earlier today, the PUCL Podcast is hosting a donation drive for The Bail Project. In an official statement on their Twitter, they also took a stand against racism and stated that they planned to host a 12 to 14 hour long donation drive. This drive will include a live Podcast recording, nuzlocke and battle gameplay, and techy stuff, all while they raise money. It will start on Saturday at 10 AM EST. And if you can’t make it, but still want to donate, you can go ahead and click here to donate ahead of time.
— PUCL Podcast (@puclpodcast) June 4, 2020
All in all, no matter who you are, we are all united as Pokémon fans. We will stand by you and support you in all your endeavors to make change.