Athletes by Kira Carney June 22, 2020
Maya Moore, basketball superstar, sacrificed her career with the WNBA in February of 2019 in pursuit of social justice.
Even as such a high-profile star, Moore’s advocacy work has not been covered extensively by the media. It is crucial that media platforms give the same focus to women athletes/entertainers as they do men who are making sacrifices by being invested in the fight for social reform.
Moore chose to put the basketball down in early 2019 so that she could fight for Jonathan Irons’ freedom in Jefferson County, Missouri.
During two seasons where she would have been playing, Maya Moore helped Irons’ conviction get overturned, originally a 50-year sentence of which he spent 23 years behind bars.
Moore knew Irons’ from when she was a child. Irons had gotten to know her family through the volunteer work they did with the prison and their church. Moore joined forces with Change.org to help create a petition and start the campaign Win With Justice.
Moore is uncertain about her future with basketball; right now her sole focus is fighting for justice for marginalized individuals.
While Moore is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist and has gone on six trips to the WNBA finals, she now plays in a different court, advocating for criminal justice reform.
So often the media focuses on male athletes and advocates of justice like Colin Kaepernick, and while these men’s efforts definitely should be applauded, it’s paramount to remember that women are also using their platforms to do the same. Making sacrifices for social justice that put their careers, their families, their livelihoods at risk.
Too often, black women are left out of the conversation. We can’t discuss athletes giving things up for equality without screaming MAYA MOORE. One of the greatest to play the game – stepped AWAY from the wnba to fight for criminal justice reform. Let’s lift her up. pic.twitter.com/j15KEYDceS
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) June 13, 2020
Dascha Polanco, known for her role as Daya Diaz on Orange Is the New Black, actively advocates for women of color in jail and helps those who have been released successfully re-enter their lives.
Kim Kardashian West helped release a woman named Alice Johnson from prison after hearing she had been a non-violent offender. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Johnson was released after 21 years behind bars.
Even when she was suiting up in her jersey and hitting the hardwood, Moore used her platform for efforts bigger than basketball. Four years ago, in support of two black men who had been killed by police, Philando Castro and Alton Sterling, Moore’s whole Minnesota Lynx basketball team wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts while warming up before their game. The cops working the game were so affronted at the perceived slight against law enforcement that they walked off the floor. I wish I were kidding.
Moore has been an activist for a while now, yet her name and face appear far less than men who are also advocates for justice. Still, she powers on, using her social media platform to help educate others.
Juneteenth should be a national day of reflection that invites us all to confront the unfulfilled promises and justice denied to Black people in this nation. This reflection can better prepare us to deal with the legacies of racial injustice that we live with today. https://t.co/HhnrP0FTnP
— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) June 19, 2020
Maya Moore shares the fact that racial injustices have been happening for a long time, and she explains the need for discourse on how to end it.
Moore, in addition to a wide range of other women athletes, entertainers, and advocates, is using her platform to voice support for change, too long forgotten and swept aside.