WNBA star Chiney Ogwumike wants to educate people on the importance of voting and the #EndSARS movement

Vinciane Ngomsi
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·3 min read

Tuesday marks voting day across the United States and in the run-up to one of the most anticipated elections in history, athletes are using their platforms to encourage fans to exercise their civic duty. Chiney Ogwumike is a part of that coalition, and the Los Angeles Sparks star is enlisting some help.

Last week, Crown announced that she, along with DJ and Producer DJ Kittens and author Frederick Joseph joined forces to launch “DECODE IT,” a content series breaking down the definition of key terms and language used in election and voting to encourage conversations among peers.

Ogwumike told Yahoo Sports that Crown’s commitment to community involvement stood out to her.

“The last few months, I think we’ve all been challenged to figure out how we can help our own communities and finding partners that understand what that looks like. Crown was that type of partner that understood that my representation actually mattered,” the former Stanford player said.

Ogwumike has been a vocal proponent of the #EndSARS movement

Ogwumike was born in Texas, but she is first-generation Nigerian-American. Over the last several weeks, mass protests have been occurring in the west African country, calling for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police with a lengthy record of abuse against civilians.

American athletes with Nigerian affiliation across all leagues have spoken out about the ongoing crisis, Ogwumike included.

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The 2014 No. 1 overall pick also explained to Yahoo Sports why Americans protesting for racial equality should also turn their attention to this movement overseas.

“I’ve had the mindset to be able to attack the world and pursue all of my passions while understanding having a foot in two countries. When it comes to the Black community in the U.S., we are finally beginning to have these productive conversations where ‘Hey, what happens to me in Houston or in Los Angeles is actually connected to what happens in Lagos, Nigeria or Accra, Ghana.’

“We are all connected through our struggles and our successes and pushing this idea of solidarity for all Black individuals has made us better. We’ve pushed systems to be more accountable and we’ve also shows that young people have a voice, too. We’re moving forward with possibility, but most importantly, with power.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 20: Los Angeles Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike #13 before the Minnesota Lynx vs Los Angeles Sparks game on August 20, 2019, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ogwumike made history in 2020

Fans are used to seeing the 28-year-old reach historic feats on the court. However, the Ogwumike made history off the court in August when she became the first Black woman on ESPN to host a national radio show, as well as the first WNBA player.

When asked what listeners can expect to hear on “Chiney and Golic Jr.” over time, the 2014 league rookie of the year revealed she intends on using her platform to highlight diverse voices and opinions.

“A lot of people don’t know what they don’t know,” she said. “I want to engage and have dialogues that bring everyone together to the fold, whether you’re Black or white or what you believe in politically. We have to have constructive conversations through our love of sports. It’s opening a world of perspective and I feel privileged to be in a position where a young girl whose a hooper says, ‘If I’m not making it in the WNBA or after college, I can pivot and try something different.’”

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