WBCA reaffirms fight against racism by forming social justice task force, presenting panel of prominent figures in women’s basketball discussing race relations

ATLANTA (June 9, 2020) — The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the formation of a task force that will lead active efforts by the association to improve race relations, combat racism and promote social justice within the sport, all of athletics, and society as a whole.

The new task force will function under the auspices of the WBCA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which was formed in 2016 under the leadership and guidance of then WBCA President Coquese Washington, who was recently named associate head coach at the University of Notre Dame. This committee advises and guides the WBCA Board of Directors in matters of diversity & inclusion that are important to the WBCA membership. The task force will focus specifically on race relations, racism and social injustice by developing and launching initiatives in training and advocacy, continuing education, and hiring practices.

The WBCA, meanwhile, will present “A Time for Action” at 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Moderated by Cleveland Cavaliers sideline reporter Angel Gray, “A Time for Action” will feature Geno Auriemma, head coach, University of Connecticut; Muffet McGraw, recently retired head coach, University of Notre Dame; Carolyn Peck, sportscaster, ESPN and SEC Network; Dawn Staley, head coach, South Carolina, engaging in a panel discussion on contemporary race relations and how to take action and make active changes in your communities. This panel is open to all coaches — both WBCA members and non-members alike. Click here to reserve your spot for this panel discussion.

“The WBCA Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s many efforts over the last four years have created a foundation to position the association to take action now and to be there for the black community,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “We are in a powerful moment. It is time to act. Our committee and task force will keep us focused to make a difference.”

“As coaches we are in positions to use our platform. Let’s use our platforms and voices now to not only support and advocate for our black coaches and black student-athletes, but the black community,” noted WBCA President Tricia Cullop. “The Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s action item of establishing a task force to address social injustice and eradicate racism will bring immediate action and change.”

"Speaking up and calling out systemic racism is a great first step. But we are obligated to do so much more," said WBCA board member and California head women's basketball coach, Charmin Smith. "We must address where racism exists in our own organizations and in our own institutions and commit to change. We must take action. It is not enough to just talk about social injustice. We must lead a charge towards actually doing things that will dismantle social injustice."

“As a black woman who grew up around the game it is great to see action being taken here at the WBCA,” said Tess M. Romine-Black, WBCA director of marketing and staff liaison to the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. “We all know that this is bigger than basketball and to work for an association that is willing to stand, see and genuinely hear the black community — one of the communities I belong to — makes me proud.”

Click here for more information on the WBCA Diversity & Inclusion Committee, the new task force that will focus on social injustice, upcoming programming and education, and resources for coaches by coaches.

About the WBCA

Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to those organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport. Visit WBCA.org for more details about the Association.