UConn Awesome, WNBA Star Sue Bird Honored by Anti-Defamation League

UConn and WNBA legend Sue Bird was honored Tuesday night by the Anti-Defamation League as the first recipient of the organization’s inaugural Changemaker Award.

The award recognizes an individual in the sports or entertainment industry with an outstanding track record of using their platform to promote positive change in society.

The four-time WNBA champion and two-time NCAA champion were presented with the award and made comments during the virtual 2021 ADL Never is Now Summit Against Antisemitism and Hate Tuesday night.

“I am honored to receive ADL’s inaugural Changemaker Award,” said Bird during her remarks. “ADL’s mission to end the defamation of the Jewish people and to ensure justice and fair treatment for all is personal to me. And I’m honored to be a part of Never is Now, because now is the time to come together and speak out after a year of unimaginable hatred.

“But above all, I am honored to receive an award, not for scoring the most points or dropping the most dimes. But for acknowledging and praising the fact that I didn’t just stick with sports.”

Bird, who has an apartment with fiancé Megan Rapinoe in Greenwich, has been an outspoken activist for race equality, health, LGBTQ rights and gender equality throughout her time in the WNBA. As vice president of the board of directors for the WNBA’s Players Association, Bird helped lead the league’s efforts to dedicate the 2020 season to Breonna Taylor — the 26-year-old black woman who was shot and killed by police officers in March 2020. .

“People who say I should exercise don’t understand that becoming an activist wasn’t an option. Unfortunately, being a female athlete was never just about basketball,” said Bird, a dual American and Israeli citizen. “Sometimes it feels like I’m being judged on everything except the game I’m playing. I am condemned because I am a woman. I am being judged for being Jewish. I am being judged for being gay. And a lot of my teammates are judged for being black.”

Most recently, the 41-year-old supported the election of Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock. With the help of Bird and other WNBA players, Warnock defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler — former co-owner of the Atlanta Dream — in the second round in Georgia to become the state’s first black senator.

“I always tell my teammates that the proof is in the pudding and I think our experience with the Georgia Senate race really proved that we are stronger when we work together,” Bird said.

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