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WNBA and Oprah Honoring Breonna Taylor and #SayHerName

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At the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida on July 25th, in what has been called a “wubble” (women’s bubble) the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) kicked off their shortened (because of the pandemic) and delayed from May season.

The league dedicated the season to Breonna Taylor and the #SayHerName movement.  Some players will also wear Breonna’s name on their jerseys for the duration of the 22-game season.

“We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT [Emergency Medical Technician] who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home.  We are also dedicating this season to Say Her Name Campaign, a campaign committed to saying the names and fighting for justice for Black women.  Black women who are so often forgotten in this fight for justice, who do not have people marching in the streets for them” said Layshia Clarendon of the New York Liberty.

There are 12 teams in the WNBA.  More games will be nationally broadcast this season, so more eyes on the league and their statements.

“We’re so proud of our players speaking out on these issues.  There’s nothing political about that.  It’s a statement of their values.  They’re bringing awareness to issues that have long been ignored , particularly as they advocate for female victims of racial injustice and police brutality” said Cathy Engelbert, WNBA Commissioner.

The Liberty in their game against the Seattle Storm also had 26 seconds of silence to honor Taylor who was 26 years old when she was killed.  She would have been 27 on June 5th.

“Black Live Matter” was also printed on the edge of the basketball court where all the games will be played.

Breonna Taylor was shot 8 times and killed by Brett Hankison, Jon Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove, police officers in her home while sleeping in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13th shortly after midnight.  

Hankison is appealing his firing and Mattingly and Cosgrove have been placed on administrative leave.  No charges have been filed against any of the three.  

#SayHerName was created by Kimberlé Crenshaw “ . . . to make the death of Black women an active part of this conversation by saying their names”.  

Breonna Taylor, Tanesha Anderson, Miriam Carey, Yvette Smith, Natasha McKenna, Rekia Boyd, Mya Hall, Michelle Cusseaux, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah Milton are some of the women who have be killed whose names are being lifted up.

And for the first time in its 20-year publication history, Oprah will not grace the cover of her O magazine, Breonna Taylor’s image will be on the cover.  Oprah says that the cover by digital artist Alexis Franklin, captured “not just a likeness but a soul”.

O is on newsstands and available via download on August 11th.

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