By Sumitra Naidoo
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 8 of VARSITY News.
The 2020 WNBA season will be used to give a spotlight, through its partnership with the
“Say Her Name” campaign, to different womxn who were victims of police violence in the
USA. According to the founder of the campaign, Kimberlé Crenshaw, media attention is
prioritised for male stories and social media is the only place in which female stories are
highlighted. However, this is not enough for justice to be served.
WNBA players were seen arriving at games in T-shirts which read “arrest the cops who
killed Breonna Taylor” – this comes over 150 days after Taylor was killed. Through this
collaboration, the names of multiple womxn whose killers have not yet been prosecuted will
be given a spotlight. Awareness to the issue that male stories are prioritised within the media
are being emphasised throughout the campaign. Through the added media attention that male
victims get, their killers are arrested and prosecuted much quicker than female victims. For
example, if we look at how quickly George Floyd’s murderers were prosecuted and compare
it to that of Breonna Taylor, it is evident that even within the justice system patriarchy
still prevails. Crenshaw said in an interview with the undefeated: “It’s not just George
Floyd, it’s Breonna Taylor. It’s not just Michael Brown, it’s Michelle Cusseaux”.
Say Her Name is also focused on supporting the families of these respective womxn, and
according to Crenshaw, having the support of the WNBA opens up the conversation to more
avenues by making sure that the names of these womxn are constantly being put out.
In terms of the players, in addition to wearing these tops, many took to social media to
advocate their viewpoints towards the current unjust system by not having Taylor’s killers
arrested. This collaboration has gained the attention of many celebrities such as Ruby Rose
and U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe as well as many others, who all showed their support by
wearing these T-shirts and advocating for justice to be served.