This entire WNBA season is dedicated to Breonna Taylor. Her name is on every players' jersey, she is constantly brought up in media sessions by players. Before the first game of the season on national television, the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm held a moment of silence for her.
Washington Mystics newcomer Essence Carson doesn't want that movement to be slowed down. On Friday she called on her WNBA cohorts to continue to 'Say Her Name' in a video posted on Uninterrupted.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency room technician, was killed when police shot into her house while executing a wrongful search warrant back in March. The officers involved in the shooting have not been charged with any wrongdoing in the months since.
Taylor's death has sparked additional social unrest in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. The 'Say Her Name' campaign began to raise awareness of her death as it was overshadowed by Floyd's.
Carson says this is the opportunity for her fellow players to stand on the right side of history and make a difference.
"For many years of our lives, we used the game that we loved to serve as entertainment," Carson said in the video. "Today it's time that we used the game that we love to serve a purpose much greater. A purpose much greater than many may believe we deserve to stand for."
Those who oppose the WNBA players speaking out or say that athletes should 'shut up and dribble' aren't the first intended to silence Black and female voices. Carson recalls the time when Black individuals "didn't deserve" the right to vote, share the same space as whites and some didn't believe Blacks were human.
"So I ask that you take this opportunity alongside myself and my sisters to stand in solidarity, say her name, and to speak your truth unapologetically," Carson said. "And I've never just been an athlete. I'm human first."
This is an additional step to address social injustice and reform in what has been a packed WNBA season. Since the league started the season a week ago, the moment of silence, the Mystics call for people to register to vote and teams not participating in the national anthem have all served as statements for how players will be active in the bubble.
It's not just a moment, it is a movement and these players are ensuring they are a part of the conversation.
"There's always things brewing," Carson told the media this week. "I think individually players are going to continue to use their platform, especially via social media, where they can really get, you know, really, really use that vast audience."
"We have to attack these issues from all angles, right. There are so many issues. So, we're going to have to have many solutions and there isn't one solution that's going to fix everything. Again, like I like to tell everybody, it took a long time for us to get to where we are, as far as where social injustice is."
Some players elected not to play this season for social justice. Most notably was Natasha Cloud from Washington who has consistently been vocal on issues within society. That was not the case for Carson who chose to play in the WNBA bubble as an opportunity to get creative on how to enact social change.
The guard/forward is perhaps best known for how she handled herself as a leader of the Rutgers women's basketball team during the Don Imus controversy. She'll continue to step up for social justice and is simply asking for her colleagues to continue to fight the fight.
"It was going to take many people to get together and act as one and continuously and consistently and persistently attack this from all angles. So, you know, one day, like I said, one day it'll be voter initiative and other you know one thing that we won't stop championing is is say her name. And it just begins there, doesn't stop there"
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