Skylar Fields shines as a key piece of the Texas volleyball team on the court. Off the court, the sophomore opposite hitter uses her social media platforms to spotlight topics that matter to her.
Fields began using her social media this summer to express her opinions and advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. Over quarantine, the sophomore from Missouri City, Texas, said she found her voice when issues of racial injustice dominated the national conversation and she saw other athletes speak out.
“I was kind of nervous to do it at first because I was just afraid of what other people were going to say,” Fields said. “But then I realized people are going to say what they want to say regardless. So, I think that for me standing up for what I believe in is really big for myself.”
The biology sophomore penned a poem called “Being Black In America” and posted it to her Instagram June 1. The piece, which received 1,682 likes and 94 comments, implores her audience to think about racism in America and encourages them to educate themselves on Black history.
“To my Black kings and queens, now we stand as one. They hated us back then, will they hate us for years to come?” Fields’ poem reads. “They love our culture, but dislike us as a whole, EVERYONE should fight for justice, that should be the goal.”
Her audience applauded her for the poem in the comments, and her posts did not end after the summer. Fields continues using her platform and routinely reposts pictures on her Instagram story that deal with relevant social topics.
Fields said in a teleconference Oct. 20 that she puts a lot of thought into each post and saves many pictures to repost when she feels it is an appropriate time.
Many Texas volleyball players have been active on social media and in their day-to-day lives in tackling racial injustice. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Asjia O’Neal attended a protest in Southlake, Texas, while junior outside hitter Logan Eggleston is currently taking a psychology of race and racism class she said has been especially pertinent in navigating today’s world. Fields said her teammates have been receptive and have supported one another’s opinions.
“Everyone just decided to educate themselves and not take it the wrong way,” Fields said. “My team and I talk about (BLM) quite frequently honestly. We try to figure out what we can do as a team and what we can do on an individual basis to help others learn about what we're feeling and how they can educate themselves and become better on the topic.”
Known for her jump-kick celebration on the court, Fields has also seen success in her performance for Texas. She has played in every set this season and has accumulated 108 kills and 119.5 points, second on the team behind Eggleston. She said the celebration started in high school when a teammate would score an ace, but now she uses it on the Texas court to boost team energy.
“I like to (bring the energy),” Fields said. “I feel like if one person gets it started, everybody else will follow along with it. So, if I can find the energy wave, I want everybody to find it, too.”