Wall of Song Project stands in solidarity with WNBA and NBA players boycotting games #justiceforjacobblake. By boycotting the playoffs, players are invested in rejecting the idea that they should just “shut up and dribble.” We stand in solidarity with the players and Institute for the Study of Sport, Society, and Social Change. Demand #justiceforjacobblake right now. The player’s boycott gesture continues the link begun with John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Olympic gesture -updated for this moment.
We stand in solidarity with Black Lives matter and the WNBA players campaign to demand justice for Breonna Taylor and all of the Black womxn who have been victims of police brutality and violence—womxn whose stories are often lost or invisible due to the intersectional impact of race, gender, and sexual identity. Please consider the following calls-to-action #BLM #SayHerName.
We invite you to donate to the The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society & Social Change and help to create a scholarship for BIPOC female-identified women and girls in sport. We welcome your feedback about how we can further uplift the voices of the BIPOC community, support Black Lives Matter, and center the voices of Black women and girls in sports and society. We also invite you to participate in Rally the Vote, a nonpartisan coalition of sports franchises teaming up to urge their fans to register to vote and participate in elections.
Dear Potential Singer,
In the midst of this long-overdue reckoning with systemic, anti-Black racism, police violence, and the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on BIPOC community, we want to especially acknowledge the devastating intersectional impact on BIPOC women, girls, and non-binary athletes of color. And while there has been some progress since Title IX, gender-based violence, disparities in access, pay equity, working conditions, leadership, coaching opportunities, sports coverage (and the largely invisible work of womxn athlete activists) continue to exist in womxn’s sports. And we know that these systemic barriers particularly impact BIPOC womxn athletes of color.
As we work for justice for victims of police brutality—George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and countless more victims of police brutality and systemic oppression—we are sadly reminded of the context in which Nina Simone sang “Feeling Good” in 1965. Amidst police brutality, Selma’s Bloody Sunday, MLK March, assassination of Malcolm X, the escalation of the Vietnam War, her own personal struggles with domestic abuse and bi-polar depression and more, Simone sang “…And this old world is a new world / and a bold world / for me…and I’m Feeling Good….” At heart, Simone’s FEELING GOOD is about the radical act of feeling good—and working to cultivate ‘a new dawn, a new day’—in the face of deep inequity, racial injustice, police brutality, and gender-based violence. The invitation is to be emboldened by Simone’s courageous voice and mobilize our collective voices in the midst of our own longing and need for a different kind of future.
The ISSSSC and The Wall of Song Project have partnered together to present “Feeling Good” as a way to build upon San Jose State University’s deep legacy of athlete activism as the birthplace of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), a movement founded by Dr. Harry Edwards and Ken Noel that culminated in the iconic protest of 1968 Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos and led to the founding of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) in 2017.
Even in the fall of 2020, we’re seeing the impact of John Carlos’ and Tommie Smith’s Olympic gesture with the WNBA and NBA and others taking actions in solidarity with Black Lives Matter #justiceforjacobblake. We’re also seeing the impact of Black women athletes, who paved the way for the NBA strike—including the groundbreaking working of 2x Olympic gold medalist Wyomia Tyus’ in the 68 Olympics, Volleyball’s Flo Hyman, Tennis’ Althea Gibson, Billy Jean King, Serena and Venus Williams, WNBA’s Maya Moore, Soccer’s Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe, etc.—to the amazing work of our student athletes today.
We stand in solidarity with the WNBA players campaign to demand justice for Breonna Taylor and all of the Black womxn who have been victims of police brutality and violence—womxn whose stories are often lost or invisible due to the intersectional impact of race, gender, and sexual identity. These players are all invested in rejecting the idea that they should just “shut up and dribble.” Please join us in engaging further with these calls-to-action #BLM #SayHerName and help us create a scholarship for BIPOC womxn and girls in sport by donating to the The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society & Social Change. Finally, we urge you to participate in Rally the Vote—a nonpartisan coalition of sports franchises teaming up to register fans to vote and participate in elections.
We welcome your feedback about how we can further uplift the voices of the BIPOC community, support Black Lives Matter, and center the voices of Black women and girls in sports and society.
Executive Director Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC)
Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies
College of Social Sciences, SJSU, CA