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Renee Montgomery opted out of what would have been her 12th WNBA season, but she didn’t stray far from fans’ eyes and ears. Since June the UConn national champion has co-hosted shows, reinvigorated the self-titled foundation she started in 2019, gotten out the vote, started a podcast and even hosted a TED Talk to keep the focus on racial and social justice.
When Montgomery, a two-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, announced her decision, she said it was to “be a catalyst for this lifestyle, this new normal” and felt that “moments equal momentum.” By year’s end she has proven both of those to be true.
Her Remember the 3rd initiative and partnership with LeBron James’ More Than a Vote foundation was instrumental in bringing more people to the polls for a presidential election than ever before in U.S. history. One of her key focuses was explaining local elected officials’ responsibilities to their constituents and how it impacts their daily lives.
She represented Georgia, where she signed with the Atlanta Dream in 2018, for the Yahoo Sports Voting Playbook and helped residents register to vote. It was one of the closest races with a 0.3 percentage point margin of victory. And the Senate races both went to runoffs.
As if it all wasn’t a full plate already, she added another initiative, “The Last Yard,” to boost historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The fundraising efforts will deliver grants to those who need it for that final semester or school year and introduce a gaming center to attract students.
Montgomery, 33, saw the moment that 2020 gave her. The momentum she’s carrying into 2021 is a bright light of change in a dark year that has forever altered the societal landscape. It is creating a new normal.
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