WNBA star Natasha Cloud says people should not be satisfied with “crumbs” in their fight for social reform.
The 28-year-old recently announced she wouldn’t participate in the upcoming WNBA season, wanting to instead focus her energy on helping the Black Lives Matter movement enact true change in the US.
“Do not be distracted by the crumbs that people are throwing at you. T-shirts and things on the court are crumbs. Taking down statues of racist slave owners, that’s crumbs,” she told CNN Sport.
“We need actual change, whether that is defunding, whether that is social reform within our systematical racism, oppression. Don’t take the crumbs. Try for real impact.”
READ: Lewis Hamilton, Formula One’s voice and conscience
‘Being called to something greater’
The Washington Mystics guard admits the decision to sit out the upcoming season was a difficult one but says she is compelled to capitalize on the momentum currently behind the BLM movement.
She says she can have more impact on the front line of marches than she can from her “bubble” in Florida – where the WNBA season is due to be played.
“That made it extremely easy with moving forward, understanding that I am being called to something greater,” she added.
“I’m not only fighting for myself and my fiancee but our future children, for the community of Black Americans”.
Cloud says she still feels “heavy” after the death of George Floyd but says something “beautiful” can come out of such a tragedy.
In an emotional letter to The Players’ Tribune in May, titled ‘Your Silence Is a Knee on My Neck,’ she called for people to keep acknowledging racial injustices and urged them not to remain neutral on the matter.
“I was able to tie all my emotions that I was feeling, the frustration, the anger, the sadness, the fear,” she said, speaking about her essay.
“I was able to be productive with it and put it down on paper and tell my narrative and try to not only help but also educate people that might have still been in that silent, neutral area.
“Because being silent is part of the problem. Being neutral is choosing the side of the oppressor.”
READ: The driver who shattered motorsport’s color barrier
Trump ‘makes my job even harder’
Since Cloud made the decision to forgo the WNBA season, the shoe company Converse has stepped forward with a major gesture of support, promising to cover the entirety of the Washington Mystics guard’s salary.
Cloud now plans on using her extra time to help educate people on race and on finding ways to increase voter turnout ahead of the presidential election in November.
She makes clear she isn’t a fan of US President Donald Trump, who continues seizing upon widening cultural divisions in a way he believes will appeal to voters concerned about safety and order – despite polls showing wide disapproval of how he’s handling race relations.
“It makes my job even harder to spread love and to spread positivity and to preach being open-minded and open-hearted,” reflected Cloud.
“I understand that it’s going to be extremely hard for me to change hearts and minds when you’ve been brought up this way for forever.
“But if I can change the heart, the perspective of one person, then that’s a win.”