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Here at Ben & Jerry's, equality and inclusion have always been at the heart of what we believe in. Our company and our communities include people of all origins, faiths and backgrounds - a tapestry of human experience that makes us strong through its diversity.
Sport, (not unlike ice cream!), has the power to bring great communities of people together to achieve amazing things.
Amid all the celebrations and sporting glory at Rio 2016, there was a strong showing for climate justice. Kicking off with a film at the opening ceremony (which described the dangers of climate change), Olympic organisers asked millions of viewers to support a campaign to slow global warming. It may not have been the usual fireworks and parading we know and love, but we certainly weren't complaining!
Closer to home, the power of sporting fans to promote positivity was illustrated by the Irish soccer fans during the European Championships in June. With stories of fans cleaning up discarded bottles, helping an elderly couple to change a tire, affectionately singing songs to French police officers, the Irish quickly won over the hearts of the French public.
Their good deeds prompted one man to publish an open letter to the Irish fans saying: ''Before your arrival... people went on strike, they broke the shops... we spoke only of hatred. Since you're here, Irish friends, we speak only of generosity, brotherhood and good atmosphere... Because it is much more than a good moood that you spread, Irish brother, it's Love.''
Sports can be a powerful tool for directly promoting social inclusion, as well. Sports Against Racism Ireland (SARI) is a not-for-profit, volunteer driven social enterprise with charitable status, dedicated to using sport as a medium to promote social inclusion, cultural integration, global development and peacebuilding at home and abroad, while addressing the issues that violate human rights such as racism, sectarianism, xenophobia, homophobia and all forms of discrimination.
SARI presents sporting and cultural events that bring together people from different cultures and backgrounds. It creates opportunities for young people to participate in social integration projects and promotes intercultural dialogue while celebrating cultural diversity. SARI also works tirelessly to encourage government agencies and national sports bodies to adopt similar policies and practices.
Recently, to mark World Refugee Day, SARI teamed up with the UN High Commission for Refugees Ireland (UNHCR) to host the 7th annual Fair Play Football Cup. Launched by President Michael D. Higgins, the Fair Play Football Cup saw 16 teams representing Ireland's immigrant and refugee communities competing, with the aim of celebrating three things: the strength and courage of the millions forced to flee their homes due to war or persecution; the solidarity of countries, including Ireland, who assist refugees; and the contribution refugees make to countries around the world.
From changing tires, and changing attitudes, to changing the world, the social power of sport (like ice cream) has the potential to bring a lot of happiness into people's lives.
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