ABOUT THIS ENTRY
Together We Stand was a player-led social justice initiative born out of the players' desire to actively support and take a stand in the face of the social and racial injustice gripping the United States.
How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?
The Wizards wanted to make sure this was a player-led, player-focused and player-driven message that reflected the culture, spirit and belief of the team on an important social issue that directly impacts D.C. citizens and Wizards fans. The players actively worked to include, address and engage with fans on these issue to ensure the initiative and march accurately reflected the average person's experience of racial injustice in America.
The Wizards organization fully supported the players' message and requests. This wholehearted, organizational support allowed for players to more directly interact, engage with and address the community issues that fans brought forward. This organizational support of player activism will be seen as the way forward. It empowers players and gives them wider-ranging impact and resources to affect change.
Objective: The idea for a player-led march began with Mystics player Natasha Cloud having a conversation with Wizards player Bradley Beal. The two of them brought their teams on board with a plan to stage a peaceful march on Juneteenth through the streets of Washington, D.C. to the MLK Memorial. The goal of the march was to bring awareness to the systemic racial injustice in the United States and to support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The march was only the start of the continued social justice initiatives that the Wizards, Mystics and Monumental Sports led to raise awareness and support throughout the summer and into their respective seasons.
Strategy & Execution: NBA and WNBA players are not immune to the racial injustice faced by black Americans. Even at the height of their popularity, players experience the weight of oppression, profiling and police brutality just like other Americans. Players understand that even their celebrity cannot shield them from injustice. They wanted to step up and speak out for these Americans who also step into NBA arenas every year.
The Wizards marketing team created BLM signage, BLM march shirts, designed the now iconic “D.C. Fist” logo, notified and organized media, coordinated with the local government, and documented the event through videos and photography. The organization also ran a charity auction, created a BLM warm-up shirt worn by Wizards players during the NBA restart in Orlando, and donated all profits from the D.C. Fist logo shirt to support the foundation's efforts to promote voting in the 2020 election, a movement also supported and led by the players.
Results: The Wizards and player social posts received over 15M impressions, 1.6M views, 562K engagements. The march itself had thousands of (masked) attendees, employees and famlies that marched alongside players though the streets of DC. The event and the players continued efforts have been covered by Bleacher Report, ESPN, CNN, the Undefeated, the Athletic, TNT and the New York Times. Cloud, Beal and Wall were also prominently featured and interviewed about their social justice initiatives in NYT. Cloud was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for her work on promoting racial equality.
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