Australian Opals make a stand in Black Lives Matter movement

Australian Opal star Liz Cambage and her national teammates have declared their solidarity in the Black Lives Matter campaign and committed to a fight for racial equality.

In a powerful five-minute video the Opals call on Australians to “Rise Up” against social injustice after earlier this month calling on Basketball Australia to commit to stamping out racial injustice within the sport.

Cambage, who marched in the recent protests, even leading a chant which was captured on social media, and the Opals refused to return to training until the matter was addressed.

“We as an Opals playing group stand in support of our Black and Indigenous players and will not be training until we see support and change from our sporting organisation @basketballaus!! We say enough is enough!! #blacklivesmatter.” Cambage posted in Instagram.

Both BA and the Opals have responded, and captain Jenna O’Hea said racism, discrimination and injustice were a “worldwide issue” including in Australia.

“The Australian Opals’ playing group are asking all Australians to RISE UP and stand with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and people of colour to make a change,” O’Hea said.

“Racism, discrimination and injustice experienced by black communities is not an American problem, it is a worldwide issue including here in Australia.

Spain’s guard Marta Xargay vies with Australia’s guard Stephanie Talbot and centre Liz Cambage during the FIBA 2018 Women’s Basketball World Cup. The Opals have committed to fight against racial injustice. Picture: Javier Soriano/AFPSource:AFP

“It is important that everyone learns and educates themselves on these matters because learning about racism is much easier than living and experiencing it on a daily basis.

“The Australian Opals are asking everyone to embrace our RISE UP team values of Respect, Injustice, Standards, Equality, Unity and Peace as we work together to eradicate racism, discrimination and injustice both here at home and abroad.”

Cambage recently spoke of her own encounters with racism in Australia, saying she has never felt at home growing up and only found her worth after moving to the US.

“This past week has had me really, really confused and really, really shook,” Cambage said.

“All the sh*t I dealt with growing up. The name calling, being left out of things because no one wants to play with the black girl. It’s been a lot.

“I had so much shame about it, giving up on my country and race issues in this country,” she said. “I’m tired. I’m tired.

“Until you start teaching the real history of Australia, until you start respecting the traditional land owners of this country, you do not care about black lives.”

BA chief executive Jerril Rechter said he was “committed to using our position and platform to engage, listen, speak out and be a vehicle for change on racial equality”.

“The extremely important Black Lives Matter movement has made it abundantly clear that as a global community we must work harder to bring an end to racism, discrimination and injustice,” he said.

Originally published asCambage: Opals must rise up against racism

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