Candace Parker's sweet voting initiative inspired by 19th Amendment

·5 min read

The bicycle design was Candace Parker’s idea. A noted history buff, she had read about the freedom bicycles provided women in the 19th century and how they rode them to vote after the 19th Amendment was passed.

It seemed only fitting that the transportation device anchor her 19th Amendment collaboration with Sprinkles, a popular bakery specializing in cupcakes that is a well-known favorite of the Los Angeles Sparks star.

“It’s kind of a play off of exercising your right to vote,” Parker told Yahoo Sports. “But also for women during that time the bicycle was instrumental in gaining freedom and it was kind of used at that time as a way to get out of the house and be able to go away from your husband and things like that. It’s kind of huge with voting.”

Parker recognizes the struggle to vote and that having a platform means using it to leave the world a better place.

Parker: GOATs know it’s bigger than the game

It’s an initiative at the forefront of sports currently as players join nonpartisan coalitions and arenas turn into voting precincts. The Sparks announced that voting would be a main focus of their newly launched Change Has No Offseason program.

Even though athletes are told “stick to sports,” there’s a history of athletes doing the opposite. For Parker, it’s about the knowledge of being role models.

“If you think about the greatest in sport, you think about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, think about Bill Russell, think about Muhammad Ali, think about those individuals that understood that their platform was bigger than the game,” Parker told Yahoo Sports. “And it’s so important to leave the game [and] the world better than you came into it. And I think it’s been a huge advantage for individuals to get involved in politics and bring awareness to it.”

“I think we’re all citizens, we all want to have [and] see the world better for our kid, and it’s our responsibility now. It’s not even in question whether we have to use those platforms to promote change.”

Parker uses cupcakes to encourage voting

Candace Parker in a yellow Sparks jersey smiles.
Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker is passionate about voter awareness and leaving the world better for her daughter. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Parker is teaming up with Sprinkles to honor the anniversary of the ratification and adoption of the 19th Amendment, which prohibited states and the federal government from denying the right to vote based on sex. It also honors the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (Aug. 6). The partnership was “the best of both worlds” in bringing awareness and enjoying her favorite cupcakes.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” said Parker, a two-time league MVP and 2016 WNBA champion. “Anybody who knows me knows I love Sprinkles, so this was an opportunity that I definitely didn’t want to pass on.

“I think it’s just as important how we paint the picture of when you’re a certain age you look forward to something. It’s as kids understanding how important it is for you to exercise your right to vote. It’s as individuals as parents understanding how important it is to exercise your right to vote. So I’m really excited to be teaming up with Sprinkles to bring awareness.”

Through Women’s Equality Day on Wednesday, Sprinkles is offering a special cupcake with 100 cents (or $1) from each sale going to vote.org. The bicycle adornment was designed in collaboration with Parker.

The goal is to both celebrate the day and encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote. She’s using the hashtag #ExerciseYourVote to have fans share what freedom means to them. It’s a passion for Parker, who recognizes the history of voting and the time, energy and effort that went into the fight for it.

“It’s 100 years since and it’s about making sure that people understand how important it is to vote,” Parker said, adding that it wouldn’t be another 40 years until Black women could vote. “That so many of our ancestors, so many different individuals have given their life for the right to vote.”

For the next generation

Parker is in the midst of an MVP-worthy season, averaging 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. The Sparks (9-3) are third in the WNBA standings shortly after the halfway point at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Joining her in the bubble is Lailaa, her 11-year-old daughter. She’s also featured as part of Parker’s latest Adidas commercial, “What We Leave Behind.” Parker closes the clip by saying she’s hopeful for the future because of the tough conversations she’s having with her daughter, nieces and nephews today.

When Parker was growing up she learned what was right by a “Do as I say, not necessarily as I do” approach from her parents and grandparents, she told Yahoo Sports.

“But now we have kids that are able to click on the internet and see things from 10-15 years ago to see it’s more, ‘Do as I do,’” Parker said. “And my daughter is completely watching everything that I’m doing. So I definitely want to show her the importance of being a good citizen. And exercising your right to vote is huge.”

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