The Women's National Basketball Players Association Epic Fight for Racial Justice

WNBPA panel image
WNBPA panel image

The women of the WNBA – elite professional athletes and union members – spent the summer of 2020 locked down in a sports facility in Florida, practicing together, living together, suiting up to play basketball for the TV cameras – and organizing for social justice.

In this 2021 presentation to the annual Summer Institute for Union Women, leaders of the Womens National Basketball Players Association told us how they used their union power to win a landmark COVID-era back-to-work agreement which guaranteed these union women the right to fight for Black Lives, on and off the court.

The story of the WNBA players’ actions in the “Bubble” – a season dedicated to #SayHerName and to Justice for Breonna Taylor – is well – beautifully told in the ESPN documentary “144”.  However, this panel offers insight into the nuts and bolts organizing and bargaining which led up to these players’ bold public actions.

View the resource guide from the panel here.

Moderator: Cheryl Coney, Secretary, United Association for Labor Education


  • Terri Jackson, Executive Director, Women's National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA)
  • Crystal Langhorne, Seattle Storm Force4Change, retired WNBA player, (Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics); WNBA All-Star; USA Basketball
  • Bianca Cunningham, Campaigns Director for Bargaining for the Common Good Network