A legend, Indiana Fever General Manager Tamika Catchings is the best player in the franchise’s history, but she is also one of the most decorated players in WNBA history.
Her legendary status extends beyond the court as well. As part of their State of Indiana’s 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Celebration, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) named her the recipient of the 2021 Freedom Award.
An annual celebration, the ICRC honors four Hoosiers who have worked diligently to improve their communities in a manner that exemplifies the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The Freedom Award is given to “individuals or projects whose major societal influence includes breaking down barriers that have divided us in the past and/or building ongoing relationships that foster respect, understanding, and harmony in our schools.”
“I am honored to be alongside the other award recipients and thankful for the impact they also have on our community and not just in Indianapolis, but through the state of Indiana and beyond,” Catchings stated.
Over the years, Catchings’ community work has been shown in a variety of ways – including through her Catch the Stars Foundation, which supports disadvantaged youth in achieving their dreams, while also emphasizing youth fitness, literacy, and development. She has camps and clinics that teach basketball, as well as positive life values to children. That’s on top of the various programs offered at her business Tea’s Me Cafe Indy.
“You don’t go on a journey like this for recognition. You go on this journey because it’s the right thing to do. Being able to have a platform and use our voices to make a positive impact is what it’s all about.”
This past year, Catchings used her platform to bring awareness to social justice and equality, as she joined a local demonstration to encourage voter registration and protest police brutality. She also signed up to be a poll worker in Indiana for the 2020 election and worked the polls for the first time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which was one of 188 polling places in Marion County on election day.
“I think the thing I am most passionate about when it comes to using my voice and platform is our youth,” Catchings replied. “They are going be the ones that change our world. They are going to be the ones that we influence now, so that they don’t have to experience the America we are in right now.
“Lord willing, I will have my own kid, and I want them to live in a world where they’re not fighting for the same things that we’ve had to fight for.
Catchings, along with Robin E. Winston (Chairman’s Award), Shirley Weatherly (Trailblazer Award) and George Guy (Civil Rights Champion Award), received their awards via zoom during the State of Indiana’s 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Celebration on Thursday, January 14, 2021.