A community stands together to do the right thing.
r/StreetFighter has a long history of supporting the community. Since the subreddit’s inception, users and mods have pushed for community sponsorship drives to help players, whether Online Warriors or strong players who might not have the funds to travel on their own, make it to big stages to show their stuff.
This generosity hasn’t slowed down in the 12 years the subreddit has been around as they have continued to offer more FGC members their opportunity in the spotlight. All this being said, their impromptu and herculean effort on June 1 might be the most important community effort yet.
Joe Munday, the head moderator of the forum, ran a charitable version of r/StreetFighter’s East Coast Online Local tournament to help raise funds for the emboldened Black Lives Matter movement across the nation.
The city of Minneapolis has risen up together to peacefully protest against a history of systemic racism and police brutality in response to the lack of accountability and justice for the murder of unarmed black man, George Floyd. These injustices have continued to go unpunished not just in their city, but across the country. Amid the legitimate demonstrations, police instigated rising tensions with the use of tear gas and less-lethal force and wrongfully arresting peaceful protesters.
With reports and videos of continued injustice spreading quickly across the U.S., other major cities started joining in solidarity and as of today, there have been Black Lives Matter protests in all 50 states. While change has begun to take effect in certain local governments, there is still much work to be done.
Rightfully moved by this, Joe Munday decided he wanted to dedicate the weekly East Coast Online tournament held by r/StreetFighter towards raising money to help out the myriad of campaigns that sprung up to provide relief for the innumerable people affected by the ongoing problem of police brutality.
Initially, Munday decided $200 would go to the winner’s choice of charity, and if anyone from the community wanted to contribute, they could use Matcherino to bolster the donation pool with a “blacklivesmatter” code for $1, or with their own specified amount, personally.
It didn’t take long for the collective amount to surpass $1,000. That was a big win for the community. Then it was $2,000, then $5,000, then $9,000, and $10,000. In about twelve hours, the FGC had raised over $13,000 to help out the Black Lives Matter movement, but it didn’t stop there. After the tournament was decided, Joe kept the donation link up for the next day and it drove up even higher.
By the time the donation drive ended, the final total sat at $17,553. The drive became the single largest fighting game Matcherino pool, the single largest charity Matcherino pool, and the 3rd largest purely crowd-funded Matcherino event. It’s no surprise that the organizers and people involved were blown away by the reality of their crowdfunded success, and even moved to tears during closing statements.
“…This is incredible, what you have done here today in what amounts to probably less than 12 hours notice, is raising over $12,000 for what might work out to be multiple charities…” said Joe Munday. “If you’ve looked at the media in the last couple of days if you’ve been following the news, you might think…I am seeing a lot of brutality in places where I don’t believe that it should be. I am seeing a lot of hate and a lot of pain and a lot of suffering in people that deserve love. And I look at how many people have donated, I look at all of the names, all of the people who have been a part of this and saying I want change, I want a better future than we have today. I believe that the work that we do today will make a better tomorrow for everyone.”
Kevin “Dual Kevin” Barrios won the whole thing and his charity of choice was Black Visions Collective, an organization in Minnesota that strives towards systems reform, autonomy among black people, and long-term transformative change. Following hot on the trail of the r/StreetFighter tournament, countless other charity tournaments were organized to help support the cause.
The most important aspect of our corner of competitive gaming is the community. We find other folks who love to hit buttons and beat each other up in fighting games, trying to figure out who’s the best. Along the way, we learn more about the people behind the arcade sticks and the fireballs.
The Fighting Game Community is especially unique in its spread diversity, reaching every race, gender, sexuality, and religion. In the midst of the current state of affairs across the world, this moment is pivotal for supporting one another. It’s important that our community provides a pillar of light that would serve to remind us of what humanity and fighting the good fight looks like.