The words that sparked Natasha Cloud’s social justice fight? ‘We need your help’

·3 min read

Natasha Cloud vividly remembers the moment she felt the call to turn up the volume on her role as an activist. The Washington Mystics’ guard was visiting a local kindergarten with her teammates in 2019 when she was approached by a tearful school staffer, pleading for help.

“The librarian just came to me and one of my other teammates and was like, ‘We need your help,'” recalls the 30-year-old Cloud in the latest episode of On Her Turf’s LeadHer series (video embedded above). “And she’s saying this with tears in her eyes and telling us the stories of how three bullets had penetrated their school building in one month. And their representatives weren’t doing anything.

“At that moment, it was just utilizing our platform.”

But Cloud decided to take her efforts a step further following the murder of George Floyd, sitting out the 2020 WNBA season to devote her all of her time to social justice causes.

“It still was probably the hardest decision this far in my life that I’ve had to make was sitting out a season,” said Cloud, who was the 15th overall pick out of by Washington in the 2015 WNBA Draft following her college career at Saint Joseph’s.

“I didn’t feel like I could be a champion on the court and the champion in my community by being removed from my community and not being able to be on the front lines, not being able to be at marches, not being able to sit in rooms that are having these dialogues that need to be had about decisions being made moving forward. I want to be in those chairs.”

However, the time away did nothing to deter Cloud’s value in the league, where she returned in 2021 having signed a three-year, $565,000 contract with the Mystics. She stepped right back into her role as one the team’s lead guards, and in June of this season, Cloud tallied her 900th career assist – reaching the mark in just 193 games (10th fastest in WNBA history).

But while Cloud is still in the throes of her WNBA career, she’s already thinking ahead of life off the court after the league. In particular, she’s aiming to continue her effort as “a voice for the voiceless.”

“We need normal people that understand what it means to be and live in these traumas, to now take leadership to bring solutions and bring truth and honesty and transparency and vulnerability, so I think I want to go into politics,” says Cloud. “I would love to a mayor or even a governor of Pennsylvania, or looking bigger picture down the line, I would love to hold a seat and be able to represent a community that needs true representation and someone that understands what it means to be in their shoes.”

The previous episodes of On Her Turf’s LeadHer series can be found here: Kendall Coyne Schofield, Jessie Diggins

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