SEATTLE, Wash. – The Seattle Storm will host Pride Night presented by AT&T on Friday, September 11 as it takes on the Phoenix Mercury at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. PT on JOEtv. Though the Storm’s annual Pride celebration in June was postponed, this game, under the Force4Change platform, will place special focus on recognizing LGBTQ+ leaders of color in the Seattle community.
“Our 2020 Pride Night will honor the Storm’s long tradition of celebrating diversity and inclusion, while focusing on Black, Indigenous, and people of color business leaders in the LGBTQ+ community, and their incredible contributions to shaping and leading efforts to a more just and equitable world,” said Storm General Manager and CEO Alisha Valavanis. “This game is dedicated to them, and all individuals working toward social justice in our communities, our nation and our world.”
Force4Change is focused on four key areas related to voter registration and the amplification of Black women, LGBTQ+ leaders of color and organizations serving Black communities. Pride is an essential piece of this platform and will feature incredible LGBTQ+ leaders of color and the impact they have made. These 2020 Storm Pride Community Leaders were selected with direct input from Seattle Storm players.
Justice G. Helen Whitener, WA Supreme Court Justice (she/her)– Justice G. Helen Whitener serves on the Washington State Supreme Court. Justice Whitener was born and raised in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. She is the first Black woman to serve on the Washington Supreme Court, the fourth immigrant-born Justice, and the first openly Black LGBT judge in the State of Washington. Justice Whitener is the 2020 recipient of the International Association of LGBTQ Judges Association President’s Award and was also the 2019 recipient of the Washington State Bar Association’s C.Z. Smith Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award.
Monisha Harrell, Board Chair- Equal Rights Washington (she/her)– Monisha Harrell, a Seattle native, is the current Chair of the Equal Rights Washington Board of Directors. As Chair of Equal Rights Washington, Monisha has helped lead work to ban conversion therapy for minors in Washington State, pass an updated Uniform Parentage Act to support LGBTQ families, and ban trans panic and gay panic as legal defenses for violence against the LGBTQ community. Monisha has also served as a co-chair for the De-Escalate Washington campaign committee requiring de-escalation training for all law enforcement officers in Washington State and was recently appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve on a task force to provide recommendations for legislation on investigations involving police use of force. Monisha also recently completed work as a member of Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Hate Crime Advisory Working Group. In 2017, Monisha was named The University of Washington Consulting and Business Development Center’s Alumni of the Year, and was also honored as the GSBA’s Community Leader of the Year for 2018.
Jaelynn Scott, Executive Director- Lavender Rights Project (she/her)– Jaelynn Scott is the founding member of the Washington Black Trans Task Force and the Executive Director of Lavender Rights Project. Jaelynn and the Washington Black Trans Task Force work to end the epidemic of violence against Black Trans people by building communities of protection for all Black Trans people. She also leads the Lavender Rights Project in providing sliding-scale legal services for all LGBTQ+ persons. The Lavender Rights Project is focused on centering the needs of the Black community in all of the work that it does, and being able to provide better legal services and care for all LGBTQ+ clients while serving the most vulnerable in our community. Jaelynn Scott believes that when we trust Black trans leadership, we will achieve our goals of seeing that ALL Black Lives Matter.
“It’s long been a part of our corporate culture at AT&T to embrace inclusion and diversity and to celebrate employees and customers for who they are,” said Bob Bass, President of External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T. “Teaming up with the Seattle Storm to celebrate Pride with the community is a slam dunk.”
On behalf of each individual, the Storm and AT&T will be making a $2,000 donation to the GSBA Ready for Business Fund for a total of $6,000. This money will be designated to support BIPOC business owners in Seattle.
GSBA, Washington State’s LGBTQ & Allied Chamber of Commerce have launched the Ready for Business Fund to aid small business recovery in the Seattle area. The fund will provide $2,500 cash grants to small businesses owned by LGBTQ people, BIPOC community members and women. The Storm and AT&T have joined the effort to empower small business owners and strengthen our community.
Storm fans who’d like to join the challenge and become a Ready for Business donor can click here to donate.
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