We’ve all witnessed the horrible hate crimes taking place across Russia against LGBT citizens under Putin’s regime. We have thrown our hands up in the air at the International Olympic Committee’s decision to stage the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi as planned in 2007 despite these recent developments. Equally, we’ve all been appalled at the IOC’s statement that they are not a human rights organisation. It’s 2013. Aren’t we all human rights organisations?
It’s now known that the games won’t be shifted. Russia provides nearly 327 billion rubles (approximately US$9.964 billion) for the total development, expansion and hosting of the Games, equal to 20% of the overall cost of US$50billion. Yes. $50billion.
However, there is still a glimmer of hope that many of their corporate sponsors will withdraw their support and rather surprisingly, Coca Cola is one of them.
Can you imagine the message that would be sent to the Russian Government and the IOC if one of the largest, most recognisable brands on the planet decided to listen to the millions of global consumers disgusted at their involvement in ignoring these human rights violations over the need to increase their customer base? Can you imagine the domino effect as other sponsors withdraw?
SumOfUs is a movement of consumers, workers and shareholders speaking with one voice to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations.
As a community, they’ve shown what can be achieved when we work together for LGBT rights. They’ve fought against transphobia in newspapers like the Daily Mail. Together, they persuaded Pepsi to fight against Uganda’s anti-gay law, and they ran a huge campaign to thank Starbucks for supporting marriage equality. They’re defending the most basic of all human rights: the right to life, the right to live free of unfair arrest, and the right to be yourself.
This week, they’ve prepared a petition to convince Coca-Cola executives meeting this week to condemn Russia’s anti-gay laws and call for their repeal. It needs 350,000 signatures. At the time of writing they’re just 70,000 short.
You can sign it here and potentially make a real difference.