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Black LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Group on the U.S. Reclassification of WNBA Player Brittney Griner as “Wrongfully Detained” by Russia

CONTACT: Brett Abrams | 

National Black Justice Coalition Says Russia is Playing Political Games With Griner

WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, the United States government reclassified WNBA Brittney Griner as “wrongfully detained” by Russia. 

According to ESPN: “the change in official designation means that the U.S. government will no longer wait for Griner’s case to play out through the Russian legal system and will seek to negotiate her return. It also means that Griner’s fellow WNBA players and supporters in Congress will be told they have the family’s blessing to bring as much attention to her case as they wish.”

In reaction to the announcement, Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director at the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+/SGL civil rights organization, explained: 

“Brittney’s status change is an important moment in the movement to bring her home safely and swiftly. It means there is now a two pronged approach focused on both legal and political strategies. 

“It has become clear that Brittney’s legal team has acted in good faith to clear her name through Russia’s legal system, and that the Russian government has been actively trying to leverage Brittney’s detainment for political purposes tied to their war on Ukraine. This is unfortunate, especially because Griner’s status as a Black, lesbian, woman leaves her vulnerable to increased discrimination and abuse at the hands of the racist and homophobic Russian government.

“We urge the U.S. government to do all it can to bring her home before she is no longer able to maintain her safety in a nation at war.”

We invite the global community to join us in solidarity with Brittney and her family by joining our global call for prayer regarding her swift and safe return home.

Join us in signing the petition to secure her return here.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.