The message was clear and filled with passion. Five New York Liberty players walked into the media room at Madison Square Garden ready to use their platform to bring increased awareness to race relations.
“Do something worth reading about or write something worth reading about.” – Tina Charles
The panel of Liberty players, comprised of Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Carolyn Swords, Kiah Stokes, and Tanisha Wright (pictured above), sat together at the front of the media room prepared to express their frustrations while turning the temperature up on the racial issues and police brutality that continue to plague our country.
This wasn’t about basketball, that portion of the day concluded earlier with a 75-65 win over the San Antonio Stars. The Liberty players wore matching black t-shirts, during warm-ups that read “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#Dallas5” on the front. The hashtags, according to the players were to show support to the ongoing efforts of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and a way to also show respect to the five policemen killed by a gunman during a protest in Dallas, Texas. The back of their shirts read “#________” , symbolizing a new hashtag everyday.
“As a team, for the last few days, most of this week, we’ve been having discussions among ourselves and dealing with the issues that have been happening in our society for awhile now — having this conversation,” Swin Cash said when asked how the idea of wearing the t-shirts came about. “We’ve actually been in communication with other teams as well and players that we talk to and are friends with. So, for us, collectively as a group we decided this is something we needed to do and wanted to do and do it today in New York.”
“I think having this platform allows us to ignite and engage in conversation,” added Carolyn Swords on the topic of improving social awareness. “The biggest goal here is not to just have continuous hashtags and wonder when, but to actually have real discussion, whether it’s in your team or in this nation about how we can change.”
“I feel very strongly about police brutality and the loss of black lives that are happening around America right now,” Tanisha Wright said. “If we want change then we’ve got to have a voice. We’ve got to be willing to not be popular in some people’s eyes and we’ve got to be able to voice the injustices that are happening.”
“My husband is 6-6, 220,” said Cash. “If my husband gets pulled over when you look at him, does he make you scared? Is something going to happen to him? Those are things that go on in my head.”
“The #BlackLivesMatter is not a moment, it’s a movement,” Cash passionately added. “ These people are crying out, they’re trying to create change. And if you’re for change you have to be for this movement and I think it’s a shame that we keep seeing people that want to make this movement as something violent.”
“Five cops gave their life up trying to protect a peaceful movement,” said Cash, while emphatically pounding her hand against the table. “In this country I do believe that you can assemble peacefully and protest against injustice; so until the system is transformed we can not sit here and act like there isn’t a problem here in America.”