The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, July 3, 2020
Honoring Black Rosie — Interview with Madison Packer & Rebecca Morse — must-click women's hockey links
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NWHL considering changing the Riveters logo
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Two weeks ago, I sat down with Riveters captains Madison Packer and Rebecca “Moose” Morse for the Social Justice in Women’s Hockey series. The three of us broke down 6 common questions about anti-racism.
When asked what can the NWHL and/or the Riveters do to actively promote and practice anti-racism, Moose said she’s been advocating to change the Riveters logo. At that moment, I was overcome with emotion. Since we recorded that episode, I have learned the NWHL is strongly considering changing the Rosie the Riveter logo to be more representative of the Black women who also served the United States in World War II.
It was only a few years ago I learned about “Black Rosie”. Former Riveters goalie Katie Fitzgerald had a custom mask with two Riveters, one of them was Black. It was the first time in my entire life it ever occurred to me Black women also worked in the factories during the war.
The iconic Rosie the Riveter — nor the hockey logo made in its image — may not have been overtly designed to promote white supremacy and racism. However, they are a result of the residue of a system that defaults to whiteness.
After speaking with Fitzgerald about her helmet, I did some research. Black women were indeed working in factories at the time. Not only did Black and multicultural women serve during the war, but many had also been working outside of the home well before the war.
Let’s remember, Rosie the Riveter is a propaganda piece, meant to rally the American people behind the war. For women, this meant entering the workforce in support of the war.
I recently found this article describing the jobs Black women held prior to the WWII, again proving that Black women are often the first to act and the last to be honored or remembered.
That last part helps to describe my emotion hearing about the potential of a Black Rosie logo. While I am overjoyed that there may be more representation, my heart hurts for the women who served and sacrificed, only to see their efforts whitewashed. I am also equal parts embarrassed and angry I never knew this history.
I also felt a wave of sadness. I know what it feels like to work in a space, on a project, or to be a pioneer and be overlooked. I’d guess if you asked most Black women in particular, they would agree.
That said, I’m not discouraged. Black women were literally integral to space travel, as one of many examples. Racism has never kept us down. One day the world will see what we are born knowing.
I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission
I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…
Ego Trippin’ by Nikki Giovanni
In closing, if honoring America is your thing, thank a Black or Brown woman this holiday weekend.
Demand for justice for EMT Breonna Taylor or soldier Vanessa Guillen.
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This Week in Women’s Hockey
The amazing Shireen Ahmed recaps the Q&A and asks when/if Hockey Canada will finally enter the conversation.
Boston Pride defender Mallory Souliotis trades in her jersey for a lab coat as an Essential Researcher.
Blake Bolden, Kelsey Koelzer, and Kim Davis among participants for the Hockey Can Be For Everyone panel coordinated by the Willie O’Ree Documentary.
I had some thoughts about the panel that I posted in a Twitter thread. ENJOY!
Need your weekly PWHPA fix? The Ice Garden has you covered.
The three best NWHL rivalries: AKA the many beefs of Madison Packer
Tweet of the Week
I sure would love to see it. If the league needs a short curly-haired model, I’d consider it.
Five at The IX: Madison Packer & Rebecca Morse
Below are impactful excerpts from Social Justice in Women’s Hockey: Episode 5, #Black Rosie. These excerpts have been editing for clarity and brevity. You can catch up with the Social Justice in Women’s Hockey series on YouTube.
Where would you like women’s hockey, the NWHL, and/or the Riveters to start when it comes to this conversation of anti-racism?
Madison Packer: I think that the You Can Play Project has a great slogan, but like, I walk into the locker room every day with Riveters and that’s how I feel. I feel like it doesn’t matter what I look like, who I am, how I live my life, or identify my teammates love me. But, you know, with everything that’s gone on and continues to go on in the world, I’ve it’s the first time we’re I’ve often thought maybe someone sitting next to me doesn’t feel that way.
(I’m) committing to making sure that my teammates feel that way and pushing, using my in with it with the PA (Packer is married to the NWHL Players Association and The IX Advisory Board member Anya Packer) and seeing if we can make sure that everyone feels that way.
Rebecca Morse: I think what I want to do is help my teammates feel more comfortable educating themselves … I do see people around me who might not have done that yet. And it’s at a point where you have to right now at least, even if you’re not going to be part of the allyship or active or outspoken about anti-racism, you educate yourself and at the very minimum — I mean, I’m not personally satisfied with that.
I’ve suggested to the Riveter staff and in conversations with them and feedback I’ve given to the NWHL, is to incorporate a version of the Riveters logo that has different tones of Rosie the Riveter. And that’s something that I feel really passionately about, and I’m why I’m mentioning it right now because it’s so so easy to deliver on that. It’s something so small that you know, it needs to happen because that’s the way that we’re going to grow the game. It’s in everyone’s best interest.
I want little children, children of all races, to be able to see themselves whether it’s on the Riveters roster or across women’s hockey in something as simple as the logo because that it seems so trivial.
Rosie is white and obviously our logo is modeled after the iconic poster essentially, but that’s also a perpetuating history, right? A white Rosie isn’t factual 100% of the time. So that’s something that I’ve talked with Saroya Tinker about as well. And I’m really going to continue to push for it and the league seemed pretty open to it, so I’m happy about that.
But that’s just one small thing that we can do that can lead to other bigger initiatives as well.
When will we know we’ve achieved anti-racism?
Madison Packer: I think that that’s up to the African American community to say. When they can walk into a room and not feel uncomfortable or … when the African American community can experience things the same way that I have.
I’ve gotten emotional when we’ve been on the call because it makes me sad … it’s hard for me when I don’t feel like I can fix something. And I feel like my ability to change is so small and that’s really frustrating to me because I feel like there are other areas where you can see a measurable improvement or change made. And with this, you’re relying on everybody pulling their weight equally.
And, you know, it’s easy for me when someone else is being a jerk in the locker room or whatever to just be like, ‘“stop being an asshole,” because it’s that simple. But when it’s on a world scale, and you’re dealing with people getting murdered and people not qualifying for mortgages and things that are life-altering, it’s sad, and I don’t think that we as white people get to say when we’ve achieved anti-racism …
Unfortunately, I think that there’s a long way to go. I think that we just need to find a way to weed out the evil people. I don’t know what that is.
Rebecca Morse: I think it’s difficult for someone outside of the Black community to definitively say, okay, we’ve achieved anti-racism. I think it’s important for people who are part of the allyship to check in with the Black community and say, “Okay, what do we need to tackle next?”
I think I can speak for a lot of people I’ve played with, in saying that I don’t see color, and by that I mean, color never factored into how I perceived or treated a teammate or opponent … to me they’re just a person and a hockey player.
But that’s part of the problem. Some just ignore the lack of diversity or the fact that our Black peers are constantly inhabiting a white space. Others are ignorant to it and don’t think about how their words or actions might impact a Black player. And part of the reason is that we don’t have those conversations regularly in the locker room.
I think that comfort and being able to talk to others with opposing views and share your knowledge is really where we need to get to first and then throughout this process and having an ongoing conversation, checking in with members of the Black community and saying, “Okay, how are we doing on this? How can I help you achieve your goals?” and our goals essentially because they should be the same.
So it’s important to hear feedback and then go on and make improvements from there, once we see incremental successes.