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An Update on the WNBA Social Justice Movement

We are in the midst of a social justice revolution and the WNBA has decided to take a stand against inequality. Although we may not always be privy to the activist efforts of the WNBA, they have been actively participating in combating racial injustice for many years. The 2020 season has been dedicated to Breonna Taylor and the Say Her Name campaign, as the organization strives to pay respect to Breonna Taylor and acknowledge the conversation about the injustices that people of color continue to face in America. From warm-up shirts to launching new platforms, the Women’s National Basketball Association has taken a stand like no other professional sports association to inspire change in the movement.


racism is a pandemic protest sign
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona from Unsplash

 

In order to induce change, the league introduced a new program known as the Social Justice Council. They will be responsible for leading and advancing social advocacy initiatives, specifically starting with race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy and gun control. The Council will act as a collective body in bringing recognition to issues that the black community is facing with police brutality and bring light to the social unrest that is brewing in the United States.

According to ESPN “It wasn’t the players and the league combined together four years ago,” Augustus said. “Now you have the league that is embracing what the players are going through. Being that this league is 80 percent Black, [we] feel a need to speak up and speak out. They’ve been reaching out to figure out what is it that the players want, not just the league throwing out, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’” 

These efforts are seemingly the forefront of a unified step towards reform. During the season players will continue the dialogue about police violence by spotlighting the names of women who were victims and honoring them by sharing their stories in an open statement to educate the public about racial injustice. When we look at this association, we see the initiative of the members and their dedication to spearheading the voices of people who deserve to be heard; they are more than just leaders in the sports world.


justice scrabble letters
Photo by CQF-avocat from Pixabay

The WNBA has responded with several acts to honor those who fell victim to police brutality, one tribute being individualized shirts that speak to the violence that occurs every day across our nation. The Washington Mystics wore white tee shirts with seven bullet holes painted in the back to tell the story of a black man who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot seven times in the back in front of his young children by police officers. This victim, like many others will not be forgotten in the eyes of this association.

Nike branded “Black Lives Matter” shirts were worn throughout the season, as well as a special dedication being made to Breonna Taylor with her name being placed on their social justice uniforms. Some teams have went as far as designing tee shirts for sale and donated the proceeds to the Breonna Taylor Foundation and the African American Policy Forum. Not only are the players active on the court but also on social media. Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, two players on the Seattle Storm, educate about the importance of voting and advocate for reform, as Breonna states “ we can’t be asking other people to do it and not being doing it ourselves”.  These public shows of support have played a major key in spreading awareness and have amplified the impact of reform in under resourced communities and help combat systematic racism.


Sticker You
Sticker You / Unsplash

The aforementioned initiatives are just some of the latest actions that the WNBA has taken to stand against the social unrest in our communities. They assert that they cannot inspire change without being the change themselves. With this the teams are committed to taking more action to fight for what is right and bring more recognition to the social justice movement as time progresses.  

Alori Council

Hofstra '22

I am a Hofstra University student working to earn a dual degree in Community Health and a Master's in Health Administration. I love volunteering and being the change that I wish to see in the world. I am a proud member of HerCampus Hofstra and I wholeheartedly stand by the quote "HerCampus, Our Canvas".
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