Since its founding in 2008, the Atlanta Dream have embodied Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Dream” of a more equitable America by leading change on an array of civil rights and social justice issues. The organization was recognized for these efforts last night, as it was named the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year at the Sports Humanitarian Awards, presented by ESPN and held in New York City. As part of the event, a 90-minute television special will air on Saturday, July 24 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.
“We are humbled by this honor and thank ESPN for amplifying our voices and promoting social justice,” said Renee Montgomery, vice president and co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. “The movement to create true equality for all is not just a moment in time but requires a constant struggle and continued dedication.”
The Sports Humanitarian Awards is a celebration of the impact made by athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who are using sports to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world. The other finalists alongside the Dream in the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award category included the Denver Broncos, New York City Football Club (NYCFC) and Toronto Blue Jays.
During the summer of 2020, in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Jacob Blake, the Dream players – along with their WNBA peers – spoke truth to power and shined a light on racial justice and voter suppression. The women of the Dream refused to be used as political pawns and put their careers and livelihood at risk by taking the unprecedented action of endorsing their then owner’s opponent – Reverend Raphael Warnock – for the U.S. Senate. That endorsement helped elect the first Black Senator from Georgia and flip the Senate, changing the course of history in America.
Most recently, in a Shakespearean twist, the Dream made history when former Dream player, WNBA All-Star, WNBA Champion, and Sixth Woman of the Year Renee Montgomery – who played an instrumental role in 2020 when she sat out the season to fight racial injustice – became the first former WNBA player to be both an owner and senior executive.
As the winner in the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year category, the Dream will direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the New Georgia Project. The NGP is a non-partisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians, advocate for civil and human rights, and advance justice on behalf of historically marginalized communities.
“The Atlanta Dream will never back down from supporting our players using their platforms to fight for what is right,” said Larry Gottesdiener, chairman and co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. “We are very appreciative of ESPN for recognizing the unprecedented bravery of the 2020 Atlanta Dream and the WNBA’s powerful impact, and for generously allowing us to support the New Georgia Project with this $100,000 grant.”
“We are extremely appreciative of ESPN and the Atlanta Dream for this gift. Our work earns national attention during election seasons, but our efforts to build power community-by-community, person-by-person, are year-round. Because of wonderful partners like the Atlanta Dream, our work to amplify the voices of historically excluded communities and solve the issues we care about is possible and we’ve been able to register nearly 550,000 voters with our sights set on one million new registrants by 2024. We thank ESPN and the Atlanta Dream for helping to make our work possible and ensuring that every voice in Georgia is heard,” said Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project.
Sports fans are encouraged to learn more about the team’s #DoItForTheDream campaign – a powerful, inspirational call-to-action toward the dream of equity, inclusion and positive change – by engaging in online conversation and tagging @atlantadream on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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