Elizabeth Williams: Citizen and Athlete

by Troy Jenkins

Imagine you are a professional athlete today who wants to improve lives. Immediately, you have the resources at your disposal to make a difference in the community. To top it off, the league you play in already has programs in place to provide community service across the country. Now imagine that you want to do more. That’s what Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams wants to do. She is committed to improving the life her community and for the people in it. Williams’ activity on the basketball court is great on it’s own, but it’s her activity off the court that has made an even greater impact since she arrived in Atlanta.

 Williams has a passion for supporting education among the youth and the city as a whole. “It’s important to know that our lives are bigger than basketball. It’s important to make an impact in whatever community you’re in, and that is what I want to do”, Williams said. “Whether it’s talking to kids about education or being involved in the city, that’s just how I feel”.

In June 2016 alone, Williams attended summer reading tip-off parties at Atlanta-Fulton Library and Conyers Public Library. There, she read books and stressed the importance of education to the youth in attendance. For her hard work, the Women’s National Basketball Association awarded Williams the ‘WNBA Cares Community Assist Award’ for the month of June.

Williams views her work in the community as an obligation to give back to the communities that have given so much to her, and believes that everyone should do the same when able. “We wouldn’t be where we are without the adults that supported us. The ones that came back and put that extra time in. So for us, it’s giving back to those that have already given to us”, said Williams.

To top things off, Williams isn’t doing this for the notoriety or the awards that may follow. She simply does it because she enjoys it. One thing in particular, Williams appreciates is when a child is listening and absorbing the message. “There are always certain kids you can tell that are listening to you. When they’re asking questions or engaged, it makes me so happy because you know that they get it. Moving forward you know that they’re going to make an impact wherever they go”, Williams continued.

Even as the WNBA season winds down to the stretch run, Williams continues to plan her next community endeavor. She has cited organizations such as Positive Athlete as organizations that she wants to work with in the future. “Being involved in that is something I want to do because I’m passionate about both of those things”, said Williams. With her passion driving her on and off the court, Williams intends to take the Dream and the Atlanta community to new heights.