The WNBA athletes have begun to enter their bubble in Florida and also announced a new platform, The Justice Movement, and the creation of the WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council. The efforts fo the league and players association will represent a commitment to social justice, while also being the first labor union for women athletes. The Social Justice Council will focus on furthering conversations surrounding race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and gun control amongst other important societal issues.
In its first season, the Social Justice Council will cultivate designated spaces for community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other activations to address this country’s long history of inequality, implicit bias, and systemic racism that has targeted black and brown communities. The WNBA and WNBPA will aim to engage educators, activists, and more. That work will reach from inside the IMG Academy bubble in Bradenton, Florida.
The work of the Social Justice Council will be led by players like Layshia Clarendon, Sydney Colson, Breanna Stewart, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, A’ja Wilson and Satou Sabally, among others.
The WNBA will begin its season in late July with a weekend of competition centered around the Black Lives Matter movement, during which teams will wear special uniforms to seek justice for the women and girls, including Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Vanessa Guillen, and more women. NIKE-branded warm-up shirts will have “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on them as well.
“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,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “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.”
“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,” said WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike. “With 140-plus voices all together for the first time ever, we can be a powerful force connecting to our sisters across the country and in other parts of the world. And may we all recognize that the league’s stated commitment to us – in this season and beyond – offers a pivotal moment in sports history.”