June 3, 2020 

Lynx, Timberwolves announce partnership to fight systemic inequalities in the Minneapolis community

The Minneapolis-based professional basketball teams announced a partnership with a local charity to affect change in the community on Tuesday

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Cheryl Reeve and Danielle Robinson. (Chris Poss photo)

The protests and riots in Minneapolis and around the country following the murder of George Floyd have left communities demanding actionable change. On Tuesday morning, the Minnesota Lynx and Minnesota Timberwolves announced a multi-year partnership with the Minneapolis Foundation to oversee the disbursement of the Fund for Safe Communities.

Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve and Timberwolves Head Coach Ryan Saunders will lead one of two advisory committees. Both Reeve and Saunders have made the media rounds in the last week speaking out against injustices, including police brutality, and stood in support of their players.

This partnership aims to help the community in two ways. The first is using the Fund for Safe Communities to prevent further violence, address systemic inequities, reform the criminal justice system and heal communities affected by these tragedies.

Secondly, an additional advisory committee of a diverse group of youth in the Minneapolis community will collaborate with the group led by Reeve and Saunders to determine how to disburse the funds from the Fund for Safe Communities as early as the week of June 8.

“I am proud of the ways in which the Minnesota Lynx have used our voices to stand up for social justice. The senseless murder of George Floyd has strengthened our resolve to bring about change in the inequities that face our black and brown communities,” Reeve said. “This alignment with The Minneapolis Foundation will allow us to directly impact these inequities as well as be active participants in the healing of our communities.”

“This is a moment where we all need to step into some bigger, bolder leadership,” said Chanda Smith Baker, Senior Vice President of Impact at The Minneapolis Foundation. “We need allies in this work and we are excited the Timberwolves and Lynx have decided to step into this partnership, dig deep into understanding the complexity of the inequities, and to help us drive toward solutions that ensure senseless tragedies rooted in racism never happen again.”

Seeing the Lynx associated with social justice is nothing new. The team donned Black Lives Matter t-shirts before games in 2016 to raise awareness for police brutality. Forward Maya Moore will also miss her second-consecutive season fighting for social change, having already contributed to the overturning of one man’s wrongful incarceration.

In times of unrest, it’s important for those of us who can do the most to help marginalized communities to step up. Certainly, with the resources and visibility both the Lynx and Timberwolves provide there is a real potential for this partnership to affect real change.

Written by Derek James

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