Last year I attended a Black Lives Matter protest in the town where I live a couple of hours outside Sydney. It was small, peaceful, powerful. This year, that movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
Black Lives Matter was founded in the US in 2013 after the acquittal of the man who shot dead 17-year-old African-American high school student, Trayvon Martin, who was visiting family at a gated community in Florida. In 2020, the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor ignited global protests.
In nominating the movement, Norwegian MP Petter Eide said Black Lives Matter had compelled countries around the world to grapple with racism and racial injustice in their own societies.
The Nobel prizes were of course established via a bequest from Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896. As I write this on 1 February, the deadline for the Nobel Peace Prize nominations is imminent. The winner will be announced in October and the award ceremony will take place in December. Last year the United Nations World Food Programme took the award from more than 300 nominees. A quirk of the Nobel Peace Prize is that any politician holding national office can submit a nomination. And so World Food Programme found itself competing against the former US President Donald Trump, nominated for the second time by a far-right Norwegian MP, who in the past had put forward North Korean strongman, Kim Jong-un. At one point Trump had the same odds of winning as billionaire philanthropist and humanitarian Bill Gates, with bookies ranking him as seventh most likely to win. Now, of course, Trump is on the precipice of a second impeachment trial, this time for inciting insurrection, and unlikely to follow other former US Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, to the podium.
The controversies and political manoeuvrings of the Nobel Peace Prize aside, if Black Lives Matter prevails, the organisation will be in good company. Past winners also include the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as individuals who changed the world – Martin Luther King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai.
In our corner of the world, fundraisers have been working hard to change the world under extraordinary and difficult circumstances. By the time you read this, their work will have been celebrated at the 2021 FIA Awards for Fundraising Excellence. Within these pages we have spotlighted some of the winners. We hope you find their stories inspiring.
F&P congratulates not only the finalists and winners, but every fundraising team and volunteer out there for persevering through 2020 to keep their causes afloat