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HUNDREDS OF PROMINENT BLACK WOMEN SIGN LOVE LETTER TO WNBA PLAYERS TO STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THEM FOR USING THEIR VOICES ON AND OFF THE COURTS

Black Women United / #winwithblackwomen Salute WNBA Players for Adding Their Voices to the National Call for an End to Racial Injustice; Signatories Include Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, Cora Master Barry, Donna Brazile, Star Jones, Hazel Dukes, Jotaka Eaddy, Judith Brown Dianis, Bishop Leah Daughtry, Angela Rye, Renee Brown, Tamika Mallory, April Reign & Hundreds of Others

Love Letter to the WNBA Players, Members of the WNBPA

October 1, 2020

 

Our Dear Sisters in the WNBA,

As a group of intergenerational Black women who have organized around the affirmation #winwithblackwomen, we stand in solidarity with each of you.  While we respect and admire your exceptional athletic prowess, in this letter we lift up the stance you continue to take in the on-going struggle for justice and equality in our nation.  That struggle, dating back 401 years to when our African ancestors were first enslaved, has yet to be won.  And in recent months since the brutal killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, followed by more and more senseless killings of Black people, we are with you in saying: Enough is enough!  And we are with you in saying that White Americans who are driven by systemic racism must get their knees off of the necks of Black people.

Dear Sisters, we are also with you in decrying the divisive rhetoric that is coming from the highest offices in our land, including the racist and misogynist language being used about Black women, including Vice President candidate Senator Kamala Harris.  As our shero Shirley Chisholm once said: “The emotional, sexual and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: It’s a girl.”  And as Black women, we continue to struggle with the double jeopardy that comes from being Black and women.

Indeed, the struggle continues!  As the late Congressman John Lewis said: “Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year; it is the struggle of a lifetime.  Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”  We recognize that is what you have been doing: getting in good trouble.  For example, when you wore those 2016 T-shirts that said: “Change Starts with Us: Justice & Accountability. “And since then, your “good trouble” has grown into a unified and consistent voice in the call for equality and justice in our country. 

What is equally admirable is that many of you are making your voices heard off the court as well.  There are countless examples of you engaging in protests in your own communities and working to effect positive change.  Indeed, you have set an example for other sports leagues of what can happen when players are united and committed to affect social change.  As an Ethiopian proverb states, “When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.” 

You have heard the calls from some in our nation that say you should “leave politics out of sports,” as Laura Ingraham disrespectfully said to LeBron James: “shut up and dribble.”  However, as you know, and in the words of the well-known Black lesbian writer and activist Audre Lorde: “Your silence will not protect you.”

Protests by Black athletes in our country certainly did not begin with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during performances of the National anthem.  And the world needs to remember that a few weeks after he took a knee, center Kelsey Bone was the first of multiple WNBA players who joined him in protest.  History and herstory are filled with stories of Black women and men who, as athletes protest racial injustice and speak truth to power.  The names of the Black men athletes are well known.  But we insist on lifting up just a few of the names of sister-athletes who have also protested racial and gender inequality in America: Wilma Rudolph, Serena and Venus Williams, Earlene Brown, Erosenna Robinson, and Wyomia Tyus.

How well we remember that in 2016, after the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, it was WNBA players who lead the way by wearing Black Lives Matter shirts and holding media blackouts where you refused to talk about basketball and would only talk about police violence. 

You continue to add your voices to the national call for an end to racial injustice and you turn a deaf ear to those who accuse you of being disruptive to the WNBA.  For indeed, you agree with our sister Alicia Garza, one of the cofounders of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“Every successful social movement in this country's history has used disruption as a strategy to fight for social change.  Whether it was the Boston Tea Party or the sit-ins at lunch counters throughout the South, no change has been won without disruptive action.”  

We bring closure to this letter in the same spirit in which we opened it, and that is by stating unequivocally that we stand in solidarity with you!

In Sisterhood,  

Black Women United / #winwithblackwomen Network

A'shanti F. Gholar: Founder, The Brown Girl's Guide to Politics

Adjoa B. Asamoah: CEO, ABA Consulting LLC

Rev. Adora Iris Lee: Ordained Minister, United Church of Christ

Adrienne White: VIce President Strategy, Citizens Trust Bank (Black Owned Bank in Atlanta)

Aisha J. McClendon: National Outreach Director, VoteAmerica

Alana Beard: Sr. Associate, Silicon Valley Bank-Capital

Alycia Albergottie

Dr. Amira Ogunleye

Amy Elisa Jackson: Marketing Director

Hon. Angela M. Angel: Director of Black Power, Bowers Consulting

Angela Foxworth Everett: Deputy Director of Voter Registration, 360 Consulting

Angela M. Michael: Business Advisor & Board Director, Multiple Companies

Angela Rye: Principal & CEO, IMPACT Strategies

April Reign: Creator, #OscarsSoWhite

B. Roberson: CEO, Just B Roberson

Barbara Williams-Skinner: Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network

Bobette Gillette

Brandi A. Rand: Burrell Communications

Brandi Colander

Bre Maxwell

Bryna Jean-Marie: CEO & Principal Creator, Quill and Coal

Buki Froelke: Founder, Share Mobilize Now

Candi Castleberry Singleton: Founder, Dignity & Respect Campaign

Carmen R. Adams, Esq.: Legal Counsel, Accenture LLP

Chameka Ponder

Charece Williams Gee: Director of Marketing, PepsiCo

Charlotte Yvonne Reid: Chief Visionary Officer, Reid Rodell

Charmion N. Kinder: Founder & Chief Impact Officer, CNKinder, Inc.

Cheryl McDuffie James: CEO & Change Manager, Business Imaging

Christina Cue: Chief of Staff, Full Circle Strategies

Christina Greer: Associate Professor, Fordham University

Christine White

Comelia R. Sanford: Principal, The Sanford Agency

Cora Masters Barry: CEO Recreation Wishlist Committee/Southeast Tennis & Learning Center, Recreation Wish List Committee

Cynthia Finch: Founder & CEO, New Direction HealthCare Solutions

Danielle Burnette: Owner, Hair & Makeup by DDB

Danielle Cooper Daughtry, Esq.

Dawn Staley: Former WNBA

Denise Horn: Sr. Director, Inclusion Marketing & Communications, WarnerMedia

Desiree Peterkin Bell: CEO, DPBell & Associates, LLC

Deyaska Spencer Sweatman, Esq.: Attorney, The Deyaska Spencer Law Firm

Donna Brazile: Managing Director, Brazile and Associates LLC

Donnita Rogers: Director of Athletics, Langston University

Rev. Dorian D. Sanders: Social Worker

Dyonicia Brown: Sr. Director of Regional Strategy, Young Invincibles

EbonyJanice Moore: Educator & Organizer, The Free People Project & Black Girl Mixtape

Edda Collins Coleman: Co-Founder, The All In Together Campaign

Edwina Ward

Dr. Elsie Scott: Director, Ronald W. Walters Leadership & Public Policy Center, Howard University

Emmalesha Christman: Senior Associate, Glen Echo Group

Erica Staley: NSC, LLC

Ericka Gibson: A Girl's Gift Inc., CEO

Erika Martin Bolden

Eris Sims: NAACP

Etienne Thomas: Director of Athletics, WSSU

Felicia Davis: Director, HBCU Green Fund Inc.

Felicia Harvey: Corporate Affairs Site Lead, Amgen

Rev. Gabrielle Kennedy: Pastor, Buren Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Dr. Gayle Holliday: President, Freedom, Inc.

Gillian Woodward: Vice President of Special Events, DCI

Gina Eleane Wood: Chair, Public Policy Committee, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Gwainevere Catchings Hess: President, Black Women's Agenda, Inc.

Gwendolyn V. Jenkins: President & CEO, The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation

Dr. Hazel N. Dukes: NAACP New York State Conference, NAACP New York State Conference

Holli Holliday, Esq.: President, Sisters Lead Sisters Vote

Iam Christian Tucker: President, CEO & Owner, ILSI Engineering

Imani Dru Robinson

Ingrid Wicker McCree: Director of Athletics, NCCU

Rev. A. Iona Smith Nze: Senior Pastor, Bethel AME Church

Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams: Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Dr. Jacqueline Francis

Jalessa T. Montaque: Multimedia Digital Creator, IMPACT Strategies

Janaye Ingram: Director of 21st Century Communities Initiatives, Airbnb

Janis L. Shelton

Jarrai Stephens: Manager, Deloitte

Jasmin Reales: State Lead, NDWA/CIA

Jenn Hunter, JD: Associate Director of Campus Life-Diversity & Inclusion, Brown University

Dr. Jennifer Clyburn Reed: CEO, Palmetto Issues Conference

Jerika Richardson: Senior Vice President of Equitable Justice & Strategic Initiatives, National Urban League

Jessica Bright

Jessica G. Moss: Founder & Director, The Roll Up CLT

Jessica Rhau

Jessica Sims: Social Justice Community Organizer, American Federation of Teachers

Jewel Love: CEO & Chief Program Strategist, SoulStirring, LLC

Jill Bishop: Executive Director, The TET Foundation

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole: President & Chair of the Board, National Council of Negro Women

Jotaka Eaddy: Founder & CEO, Full Circle Strategies, LLC

Joyce Brayboy: Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

Joyce M. Rose-Harris: Digital Organizing Director, South Carolina Democratic Party

Judith Browne Dianis: Executive Director, Advancement Project

Dr. Julianne Mallveaux: President & CEO, Economic Education

Julie L. Seely: President, Skinny House Productions LLC

Junie Harris: President, District Consortium Inc.

Kailee Scales

Hon. Kandie D. Smith: State Representative,, State of North Carolina

Kara P. Simmons: KP CONNECTS, KP CONNECTS

Kara Turrentine: CEO, Turrency Political

Karen Alston: Founder & CEO, The Spectrum Circle

Rev. Dr. Karen Anderson: Senior Pastor, First AME Church Las Vegas

Karen Boykin-Towns: Vice Chairman NAACP National Board of Directors, NAACP

Hon. Karen D. Camper: President, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women

Karen Finney: Consultant, Commentator, Activist, Self

Hon. Karen Weaver: Former Mayor City of Flint, City of Flint

Kathryn Jordan: President & CEO, KJordan Consulting, LLC

Kellie Todd: Sistallect, Inc., Sistallect, Inc.

Keshia G. Aiken: Marketing Strategist/Project Management, JEA and Associates

Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes: Athletic Director, Dillard University

Kim Bookard: Director of Programs, Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative

Kimber M. Smith Miller

Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard: President, The Links, Incorporated

Kimberly Marshall: Investor

Krystal S. Leaphart

L. Joy Williams

Dr. L. Toni Lewis: President & Founder, Liberation Health Strategies

LaDavia Drane: Global Head of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity, Amazon Web Services

LaToia Jones: Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Hustle

LaTonya Story: CEO & Founder, LPS Consulting PR LLC

LaTricia Hill-Chandler: Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Arvest Bank

LaVita Gardner: Managing Principal, The Experience Architect

Dr. Lavonia Perryman: President, Metro Detroit National Congress of Black Women

Bishop Leah D. Daughtry: Presiding Prelate, The House of the Lord Churches

Leshawnda Larkin: Sr. Manager - Wearables, Samsung

Rev. Leslie Dowdell Cannon: Founder & Chief Creative Artist, Sistah Pics

Lisa Cortés: President, Cortés Films

Lisa Joseph Metelus: Executive, CAA

Lonita K. Baker, Esq.: Attorney, Aguiar Injury Lawyers

Loretta Lamar: Sr. Associate Athletic Director/SWA

Lyric Swinton: Project Associate, Full Circle Strategies

Makani Themba: Chief Strategist, Higher Ground Change Strategies

Malaika Underwood: Senior Vice President, Licensing, OneTeam Partners

Mamee Groves

Margie Scott, Esq.: Attorney at Law

Maria Reyes: South Carolina State Director, NDWA/CIA

Marissa Nance: Founder & CEO, Native Tongue Communications

Dr. Marjorie Williams: CCO & President, The Marste Group

Dr. Markesha McWilliams Henderson: Director of Athletics, Agnes Scott College

Maureen Lewis

Maurita Coley: Board Member, Metropolitan AME

Melanie Roussell Newman

Melissa Bradley: Founder & Managing Partner, 1863 Ventures

Mia L. Woodard

Michaela Green: Music Creative - Original Independent Film, Netflix

Michele L. Jawando: US Head of Strategy Engagement & Public Policy Partnerships, Google

Michelle Gadsden-Williams: Managing Director and Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, BlackRock

Rev. Millicent Traeye Middleton: Owner & President, Middleton4U Consulting Firm

Minyon Moore: Co-Convenor, Power Rising

Moira Griffin: Producer & Content Strategist, New Bumper and Paint Productions

Monique Carroll: Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Huston-Tillotson University

Monique Pressley: Principal, The Pressley Firm LLC

Monisha Smith: Regional Director State Government Affairs, Everytown for Gun Safety

Nakisha M. Lewis

Dr. Nicol Turner Lee: Senior Fellow, Brookings

Nicole Davis: Owner, Nick of Time Marketing, LLC

Nicole R. Pollard, Esq.: Executive Assistant to the President, AFSCME

Nicole Venable: President, Black Girl Magic (BGM) Network

Nicole Williamson: Vice President of Marketing, Kicasso

Niija Kuykendall

Nkeshi Free: Communications Specialist, USAC

Dr. Pamela Pugh: Vice President, MI State Board of Education

Patrice Willoughby: Managing DIrector, Signal Group

Dr. Paula Jackson: Assistant Director of Athletics/SWA/ Chief D&I Officer, Hampton University

Phaedra Ellis Lamkins: CEO, Promise

Philisea Matthews: Voter Protection Organizing Director, South Carolina Democratic Party

Porsha White: Vice President of Voting Rights & State Organizing, Let America Vote/ End Citizens United

Portia L. Hoeg: Executive Director, Centennial Conference

R. Lucia Riddle: Owner, Sister Strength, LLC

Rachel Noerdlinger: National Communications Strategist, Mercury Public Affairs

Dr. Ramona H. Edelin: Senior Advisor, DC Charter School Alliance

Rashida Tyler: Founder, Black Women At Work

Rebekah Caruthers: Attorney & Political Consultant, CAE Strategies LLP

Rebekka L. Hughes: Licensed Professional Counselor, Sollars & Association

Rev. Dr. Regena L. Thomas: Dir Human & Community Relations, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Rene Redwood: CEO, Redwood Enterprise LLC

Renee Brown

Renee DeVigne: Associate Dean, George Washington University Law School

Rita Ewing: Business Owner, Owner, Massage Envy Midtown West

Rose David: Registered Nurse, Anthem

Sabrina Cofield: Director, Actor, Creator, Producer, Black Butterfly Media Group

Sade Awe: Founder & President, The Inner Circle Experience & EAZY GYFT

Saleah McFadden: Senior Mechanical Engineering Student, Howard University

Sarah Dash: Sarah Dash Music & Arts Ambassador of Trenton New Jersey; Ribbit Productions, Inc.

Senator Raumesh A. Akbari: Tennessee State Senate

Sevetri Wilson: CEO, Resilia

Shana C. Waterman: Head of Television, One Race Films

Sharon Benton: Senior Director, Kaiser Permanente

Sharon Robinson Clinton: Deputy Executive Director, Philadelphia Mayor's Office

Shaundra Young Scott, Esq.: Director, Voter Protection, South Carolina Democratic Party

Rev. Shavon Arline-Bradley: President, REACH Beyond Solutions LLC

Sherese N. Parker: Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Kennedy-King College

Dr. Sherri Killins Stewart: Director of Systems Alignment & Integration, Build Initiative

Sherryta Freeman: Director of Athletics, Lafayette College

Sonja Henning

Stacey Brayboy: Political & Community Advocate

Star Jones: Founder & Principal, Instant Impact Group LLC

Suezette Yasmin Robotham: Manager, Facebook

Talia R. Boone: Managing Director, INTER:SECT

Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine: Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine, City of Columbia

Tamika Mallory: Co-Founder, Until Freedom

Tamika Simpkins

Tamika Williams-Jeter: Coach & Ex-WNBA Player, The Ohio State University/ WNBA

Tamisha Raqib: Assistant Director, Promotional Review, Supernus Pharmaceuticals

Tasha Cole: Chief Diversity Officer, DCCC

Tiana Newman

Tiffany Dena Loftin: National Director, Youth & College Division, NAACP

Tiffany James: President, National Action Network of Columbia

Tiffany R. Warren: Founder & President, ADCOLOR

Tracey C. Jones: Owner, Jones Decor

Rev. Traci Blackmon: Associate General Minister, United Church of Christ

Tracy Tramel-Boleware: President & CEO, Tramel & Associates Consulting, LLC

Trudy B. Grant: Manager, Religious Affairs & External Relations, National Action Network

Tulina Hall-Chatman: Vice President, House of Harley Radio

Dr. V. Joy Simmons: Self Employed

Vanessa Spencer: Writer & Producer, Out Too Much Productions

Veronica Kyle: Co-Founder, EcoWomanist Institute

Waikinya J.S. Clanton: President & CEO, WJS Consulting, LLC

Yolanda H. Caraway: President & CEO, The Caraway Group, Inc.

Zandria Conyers: Deputy General Counsel, A major sports organization

Zola Mashariki: Chief Content Officer, Fireside Global Media

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