Sarah Gorden tells the story often, about how she was a kid playing on a club soccer team when an opponent called her a racial slur.

“I was raised around white people in a white community,” said Gorden, who is multiracial. “And I had never really looked at myself in that light until moments like that — then really you take a step back and be like, ‘Wait a second, I’m a what?’”

The defender for the Chicago Red Stars is harnessing that shock and pain by using her voice. But she also wants to go beyond the social media statements and T-shirts to do something to really lift up Black lives.

Gorden, 28, has put her focus on mental health for young women of color in launching her nonprofit organization, HoodSpace. A play