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Australian Opals lead new RISE UP campaign with Basketball Australia to support Black Lives Matter movement

Basketball Australia (BA) and the women’s national team, the Opals, have launched a campaign to target racism and discrimination.

Key points:

  • The Opals announced they would not train until Basketball Australia agreed to commit to eliminating racial injustice within the sport
  • The RISE UP campaign will begin with a focus on social and digital media before being rolled out by BA over coming months
  • Basketball Australia says it is committed to using its platform to be a vehicle for change on racial equality

The RISE UP campaign stands for Respect, Injustice, Standards, Equality, Unity, Peace, with BA and the Opals asking Australians to take action to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people of colour.

Last month the Opals announced they would not train until BA agreed to commit to eliminating racial injustice within the sport.

BA said it was committed to using its platform to be a vehicle for change on racial equality.

Opals star Liz Cambage said it was a proud moment for her and the sport.

“It’s the people around me now who are supporting me and people of colour to help change the world we live in and I’m very proud and emotional when it comes to this,” she said.

Cambage has spoken of her own encounters with racism in Australia, saying she had never felt at home growing up.

BA answered the Opals’ call with the announcement of RISE UP, with Cambage present at the launch in Melbourne on Wednesday.

RISE UP is an acronym for the team’s values: Respect, Injustice, Standards, Equality, Unity, Peace.

Opals captain Jenna O’Hea said her team wanted to help drive change within the community.

“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,” she said.

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

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“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.”

BA chief executive Jerril Rechter said basketball wanted to help build a more tolerant society.

“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.

“Basketball Australia is committed to using our position and platform to engage, listen, speak out, and be a vehicle for change on racial equality.

“We are extremely proud of the Australian Opals in wanting to come together and lend their voice and influence to not only support Black Lives Matters but drive positive change through their RISE UP campaign.”

The RISE UP initiative will be rolled out by BA over the coming months, starting with a social and digital media campaign.

ABC/AAP

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