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No one expected 2020 to be like this. From the COVID-19 pandemic to one of the largest social justice movements in the 21st century, this year was an exceptional one, to say the least. The 2020 CPL Fan Awards reflects this with the We Are One Community Award, which showcases initiatives taken up by the Canadian Premier League, its players, and its teams through this period of turbulence. Here are the five nominees: CPL players' mass solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement, Chris Nanco's Kick'd Up Culture fundraiser, York9 FC's Health Care Heroes, HFX Wanderers FC's Frontline Heroes, and FC Edmonton's Shorts for Shortages.
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Chris Nanco's Kick'd Up Culture Black Lives Matter fundraiserForge FC forward Chris Nanco raised $2,300 for multiple bail bonds this Spring as Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations challenged systemic racism across North America. Kick'd Up Culture, Nanco's personal lifestyle brand, took donations via GoFundMe, while the winger wrote a passionate essay featured on CanPL.ca. "I am sad to say that I have been subject to racism/inequality just like many of my black brothers and sisters – even in some of the most diverse countries, inequality and injustice still happen," Nanco wrote. "We did this to raise awareness, help organizations in a position to make change, and help families who are suffering from these tragedies."
York9 FC's Health Care HeroesYork9 FC honoured frontline healthcare workers early in the pandemic by selling kits with the "Health Care Heroes Emblem" emblazoned on the left arm. Proceeds from the sales were donated to Mackenzie Health's COVID-19 Response Fund, which has collected $717,000 to support front-line workers during their difficult fight against COVID-19. "This is a very small gesture we made as a club to highlight the selfless work being done," York9 managing consultant Angus McNab said.
HFX Wanderers FC's Frontline HeroesHFX Wanderers FC celebrated crucial workers on the East Coast with features on social media called "Frontline Heroes," showing medical professionals (many of them being Wanderers supporters) in cards akin to ones found in EA Sports FIFA's Ultimate Team game mode. The club also sold limited edition masks, with proceeds donated to United Way's Atlantic Compassion Fund, which supports charitable organizations serving those most marginalized by poverty and isolation across the Atlantic region.
FC Edmonton's Shorts for Shortages programThe Eddies stepped up to raise over $5,000 through their Shorts for Shortages program, which sold FCE shorts with funds going to Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. The packages, which went for $25 each, bested their goal of $4,500 and raised funds for various hospital supplies including personal protective equipment (PPE), poles for holding intravenous (IV) bags, portable cardiac monitors, portable vital signs machines, and more.
CPL players take a stand against racial injustice
Every CPL player from all eight teams took to the pitch before an Island Games match between Atlético Ottawa and Cavalry to show solidarity for BIOPIC and the Black Lives Matter movement. The pre-game demonstration was organized by the CPL players, who posted a message of solidarity with the Black community – as well as Canadian indigenous, LBGTQ, and Islamic communities – on social media earlier in the day. Another moment of silence came at the eight-minute mark of the match – 8:46 to be exact – when play officially stopped to honour George Floyd, the Minnesota man who was killed in June when a police officer held his neck to the ground for eight minutes and 46 seconds.