Diversity matters — and the European teams at the World Cup are showing why.

The 2018 World Cup has been wildly incredible.

From nail-biting penalties, unexpected underdog wins, and some truly unique fan costumes, the series has become a summer pastime for many citizens around the world.

Image by AFP/Getty Images.


As the competition winds down, several European countries are fighting for the coveted World Cup. In addition to some truly superhuman skills on display, national teams from finalist countries like France and Britain have showcased and amplified another invaluable characteristics too.

The semi-finals in 2018 include some of the most diverse European teams ever.

Photo by  Clive Rose/Getty Images.

With players like Kylian Mbappé and Paul Pogba on the French national team and Dele Alli and Kyle Walker on the English national team, European teams in the World Cup are showing just how valuable diversity is.

As billions cheers for their respective teams around the country, watching teams that represent countries that have a fraught colonialist history being led by men of color is extremely important. Men of color, whether they are immigrants or born in their countries of citizenship, often face incomparable challenges in Europe and around the globe. From discrimination in hiring, racism on the field, and struggling to prove their commitment to their countries, men of color often face additional pressure in sports that are broadcast to predominately European viewers.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images.

However, society is changing. As people continue to stand up against racism toward immigrants and players of color, the World Cup is just one more example of the value diversity adds.

A diverse team is a winning team.

As we celebrate diversity on the soccer field, it’s important to also keep in mind that we shouldn’t only show respect and praise to people with amazing athletic skill. We should value and respect the contribution of everyday citizens too.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images.

While it’s awesome and incredibly fun to support our athletes, celebrities, and heroes, people should also be respectful of immigrants and migrants they encounter in everyday activities as well. They are just as valuable and worthy of civil rights as anyone else. The World Cup shows us that making diversity a priority is both beneficial for excellence and for representation.

Regardless of the outcome of the games, the World Cup has highlighted the importance of diversity in events that emphasize national pride. People of color are all over the world. They’re worthy of respect, and nations can become even better when they support them wholeheartedly.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.