WNBA And WNBPA Launch ‘WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council’
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Women’s National Basketball Players’ Association (WNBPA) have announced the launch of the WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council, alongside the launch of The Justice Movement.
The two launches mark a commitment from both parties to advance social justice and act as a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, gun control and other societal topics.
Through these activations, the WNBA and the WNBPA hope to focus on engaging educators, activists, community and business leaders with players, team and league staff, and fans with a common goal to build bridges to communities, creating sustainable change, starting with the return of the WNBA competition in late July at the IMG Academy in Florida.
WNBA commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, said the opening of the 2020 WNBA season in late July will be marked with a weekend of competition centred around the Black Lives Matter movement, with teams wearing custom uniforms, seeking justice for women and girls who have been victims of police brutality and racial violence.
“We are incredibly proud of WNBA players who continue to lead with their inspiring voices and effective actions in the league’s dedicated fight against systemic racism and violence,” Engelbert said.
“Working together with the WNBPA and the teams, the league aims to highlight players’ social justice efforts throughout the 2020 season and beyond.
“Systemic change can’t happen overnight, but it is our shared responsibility to do everything we can to raise awareness and promote the justice we hope to see in society,” she said.
WNBPA president, Nneka Ogwumike, said players, throughout the season, will wear warm-up shirts displaying “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back, with “Black Lives Matter” set to be displayed on courts during games.
“As many WNBA players, past and present, have said and, more importantly, consistently demonstrated, the reason why you see us engaging and leading the charge when it comes to social advocacy is because it is in our DNA,” Ogwumike said.
“With 140-plus voices all together for the first time ever, we can be a powerful force connecting to our sisters across the county and in other parts of the world.
“And may we all recognise that the league’s stated commitment to us, in this season and beyond, offers a pivotal moment in sports history,” she said.
The Social Justice Council boasts players including Layshia Clarendon, Sydney Colson, Breanna Stewart, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, A’ja Wilson, Satou Sabally, and many others.
The players will be supported by advisors including Alicia Garza (co-founder of Black Lives Matter), Carolyn DeWitt (CEO of Rock the Vote), and Beverly Bond (Founder/CEO of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! And Celebrity DJ).