The WNBA is forming a player-led Social Justice Council to address social justice and racial equality during the upcoming season and in the future.
Layshia Clarendon, Sydney Colson, Breanna Stewart, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, A’ja Wilson and Satou Sabally are among the players who will serve on the council, which will be advised by organizations fighting for the same causes.
The council is part of the league’s larger initiative, called The Justice Movement.
“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,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Monday afternoon in a news release. “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.”
In addition, when the season opens later this month, WNBA players will wear jerseys with the names of women who died at the hands of police, in race-related incidents and in other acts of violence.
The NBA and its union approved 29 messages last week that players can wear instead of their last names. The NBA uniforms will not feature names of crime victims, however.
WNBA players also will wear warm-up shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back, and “Black Lives Matter” will be added to the courts at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where games will be played.
Women who will be remembered on the jerseys include Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman who died by suicide in 2015 following a confrontation with a Texas police officer during a traffic stop; Breonna Taylor, 26, a Black emergency medical technician who was shot on March 13 by officers executing a no-knock search warrant in Louisville, Ky.; and Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier whose remains were discovered last week, two months after she went missing from Fort Hood, Texas.
Military officials said they believe Guillen was killed by a fellow soldier who subsequently died by suicide.
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