Sky players launch social justice initiative ‘Sky Takes Action’

In a season dedicated to social justice, Sky players banded together to launch a new social justice initiative, ‘Sky Takes Action.’

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Sky players wore warmup shirts that said “Breonna Taylor” on the front and “Say her name” on the back for the team’s season opener Sunday against the Aces.

Sky players wore warmup shirts that said “Breonna Taylor” on the front and “Say her name” on the back for the team’s season opener Sunday against the Aces.

Chicago Sky

The Sky made a pact for this season: Anything they were going to do, they would do it together. The agreement applied to the team’s decision to enter the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida, as well as joining the league in dedicating the season to social justice.

However, Sky players knew they wanted to do more than what the league was already planning.

Over the last two months, the team has collectively been brainstorming ways to use its growing platform to continue the conversation about systemic racism — especially locally in the Chicago area — while going beyond just raising awareness.

“What kind of difference can we make?” forward Gabby Williams said the players asked themselves.

After much deliberation among teammates with former Bears linebacker Sam Acho, the founder and president of Athletes for Justice, Sky players unveiled Tuesday — before their 96-78 win against the Sparks — how they’re going to do that.

Led by Williams and guard Diamond DeShields, they launched a new social justice campaign, “Sky Takes Action,” in which players will donate their own money — based on game-day performance — to five local organizations: By the Hand Club for Kids, BYP100, The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago and Future Ties.

The plan is to donate $10 for each point scored and an additional $100 for each win and $50 for each loss. Williams said the donations will be split equally from all players, who will pool their money every few weeks.

After Sunday’s thrilling 88-86 victory against the Aces, the Sky have already raised $980 for charity. They hope their donations will be matched by fans and sponsors and are encouraging fans to join the conversation using the hashtag #SkyTakesAction. Sky players are also in discussion with the team’s ownership group to see if they might contribute as well.

The Sky will promote the campaign throughout the season, with players wearing special warmups and gear. The team’s website will also be collecting donations.

Williams said the team also plans to auction off game-worn items, exclusive FaceTime calls with players and more.

“This is a moment where we can educate people on how they can make a difference, because I think now, at least in my lifetime, we as a country are just so motivated,” Williams said. “We’re so angry — we can’t believe it’s still happening, and everybody doesn’t want history to repeat itself. So I think that’s part of this initiative, too, is teaching people about these organizations, because I think you can make the most difference locally, so we’re teaching people how and where they can volunteer, how they can get educated, and it goes beyond raising money and awareness.”

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