The Chicago Sky players announced Tuesday their “Sky Takes Action” fund to donate money to local social justice initiatives based on teams points and wins while in the “Wubble.”
The WNBA tipped off over the weekend from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, by dedicating its 2020 season to Breonna Taylor and Black women who have died while in police custody. The entire league participated in wearing “Black Lives Matter” warm-up shirts, retreating to the locker room before the national anthem played and diverting post-game questions to Taylor.
Individual teams are finding their own ways to keep the activism going throughout the next two months.
Sky to donate thousands to Chicago initiatives
Sky players, spearheaded by Gabby Williams and Diamond DeShields, launched the “Sky Takes Action” campaign, Madeline Kenney reported for the Chicago Sun-Times. They worked with Athletes for Justice, the organization founded by former Chicago Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho.
It will be a fund where players will donate their own money based on game-day performances to five local organizations.
By the Hand Club for Kids helps children in under-resourced neighborhoods “have an abundant life.” The after-school program walks children home from school.
BYP100 works to end gender violence against “Black women, girls, femmes and gender non-conforming people.”
The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) aims to reach, mobilize and organize people “So that Black political power is a force able to influence national and local agendas” to better Black lives all over the country.
Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago works to “interrupt the cycle of violence” among children and young adults by offering them a place to engaged in the arts.
Future Ties supports low-income families in the South Side of Chicago by providing after-school and summer programs for students.
How much money will Sky players donate weekly?
As a collective, the plan is to donate $10 for every point scored, $100 for every win and $50 for every loss through the 2020 season.
Williams said in a statement via the Sky:
“#SkyTakesAction is about longevity and community,” Williams continued. “It’s about inspiring others and teaching everyone that it doesn’t take much to change someone’s life, or improve somebody’s situation as long as we work together. Of course, our goal is to raise absolutely as much money as possible for the organizations we’ve chosen. But it’s also about education and changing the norm. Hopefully this will inspire and teach our fans and those who hear us to increase their level of involvement in the community.”
The Sky are already set to donate $980 to the fund after a 88-86 final-minute victory over the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday. Williams told the Sun-Times the money will be equally divided among the players.
That’s not an insignificant sum based on WNBA players’ salaries, which for the Sky range from $53,709 to $203,000, per Spotrac. Seven players are making $70,000 or less. The Sky won’t win every game nor will they score 88 points every time out. But even at a $800 per game estimate, individual players will donate nearly $1,500 to the causes.
The donations will be updated on a biweekly basis and the team is asking fans to join. The top donor every week will get a call from the team. The Sky play the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night.
Teams use ‘Say Her Name’ in own ways
Teams are putting the focus on social justice and the “Say Her Name” campaign in their own ways. The New York Liberty shared their lineup graphic before Saturday’s game with “Breonna Taylor” listed at each position.
After the game, in the post-game notes, the media team opened every topic with:
#SayHerName: It has been 134 days since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own apartment. The officers responsible for her death have not been arrested.
And the Atlanta Dream media team used every quarter break and timeout on Sunday night to share details of women killed or hurt while in police custody.
Timeout: ATL 81, DAL 71#SayHerName: Natasha McKenna, while being held at a detention center, was tasered 4 times resulting in cardiac arrest. Natasha was diagnosed with numerous mental health disorders. None of the officers were charged.
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) July 26, 2020
The season continues Tuesday night with a finals rematch of the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun as well as the Minnesota Lynx versus the Seattle Storm and Sky-Sparks.
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