New York Liberty to Host 5th Annual Unity Game Presented by Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Game and programming on July 11th will focus on disparities women of color face in healthcare

BROOKLYN, NY – July 9, 2021 – On Sunday, July 11, the New York Liberty will host the Connecticut Sun at Barclays Center for their fifth annual UNITY Day game presented by Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire). The game will tip-off at 2 p.m. ET on YES Network and ESPN3.

This year’s UNITY Day programming will focus on the health disparities and inequities faced by women of color as a direct result of structural racism. According to the CDC, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

“The Liberty’s UNITY platform was created to shine a light on a broad range of issues affecting people of color in New York and throughout the country,” said Keia Clarke, New York Liberty CEO. “It is our hope that this year’s timely focus on inequities in healthcare will not only spark important dialogue but ultimately, inspire changes in how Black and Brown women are treated in our healthcare system.”

In partnership with Empire, on July 11 the team will host a postgame panel discussion focused on addressing health disparities faced by Black women. The panel begins at 4:30 p.m. ET and will feature Dr. Teresa Yvonne Smith, an emergency physician who has dedicated her training to working in New York City’s urban communities. Yvonne is currently the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education and Affiliations at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. The panel will also include Diane Nisbet, Business Change Director on Empire’s Medicaid Team. Nisbet provides oversight and management of strategic initiatives to address Social Determinants of Health for Empire’s most vulnerable members. To register for the panel, visit bit.ly/NYLUnityPanel2021.

Before Sunday’s game, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, mammogram signups and an Empire van will be located on Barclays Center’s Plaza for community members and fans to sign up for free screenings and health information. UNITY Day programming will also be supported by additional Liberty partners, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and Withings.

“Empire is committed to addressing health inequities in our communities, and mammograms are such an important preventative step women can take to detect breast cancer early, when it is easiest to treat,” said Laura Brosen, RN, MSJ, Clinical Quality Program Director, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “That’s why, as part of our mission to materially and measurably improve the health of all New Yorkers, we are bringing mammogram signups to Barclays Center’s Plaza to make access easy for people in the community, especially for those who may have missed their annual mammogram given the impact of COVID-19 over the last year.”

In-game entertainment elements for the night will also aim to educate fans on inequities in healthcare for Black and Brown women. Fans will receive a complimentary UNITY tote bag.

The Liberty’s UNITY social justice platform was initiated by players in 2016 in response to the killings of unarmed Black men and women such as Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, and countless others. UNITY aims to ignite activism, educate fans, mobilize the local community, empower players, and amplify marginalized voices through key partnerships, social media activations and events.


ABOUT EMPIRE BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD

Serving New Yorkers for more than 85 years, Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is on a mission to materially and measurably improve the health of New Yorkers. Empire is the largest health insurer in New York supporting more than four million members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New York. Empire is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at @empirebcbs and on LinkedIn.


ABOUT NEW YORK LIBERTY

The New York Liberty was founded on October 30, 1996 and is one of three original franchises remaining in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The Liberty have made four WNBA Finals appearances in its 25-year history. Owned by Joe and Clara Tsai, owners of the Brooklyn Nets, the Liberty play its home games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. For more information, please visit www.nyliberty.com.