On July 4th, Brittney Griner wrote a letter to President Biden pleading for his help. It was her 137th day of being detained by the Russian government awaiting her trial, which has been pushed back three times. The White House reported on Tuesday July 5th that Biden had read the letter and was working diligently to bring Griner home. Griner’s wife Cherelle spoke with CBS News the same day and shared that she was disheartened that the President had still not reached out to her directly.
On Wednesday July 6th, the White House announced that both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris had spoken with Cherelle and reassured her that they are working to free Griner and other U.S. citizens being held in Russia and around the world. The White House added that Biden read a portion of a drafted letter to Griner that he was to send that same day.
“The President offered his support to Cherelle and Brittney’s family, and he committed to ensuring they are provided with all possible assistance while his administration pursues every avenue to bring Brittney home,” the White House said, adding that Biden directed his national security team to remain in regular contact with the families of those being detained abroad.
More than a thousand Black women leaders have written a petition to Biden to free Griner through the collective Win With Black Women. The letter is signed by WNBA players, coaches, and executives, as well as Tennessee State Sen. Raumesh Akbari, former acting chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile, Bernice King — CEO of the King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. — and Dawn Staley, the University of South Carolina women’s basketball coach and three-time Olympic gold medalist.
“I think about Brittney throughout the entire day, every day,” Staley added. “I try to put myself in her shoes, and I’d want somebody fighting for me — people who won’t shut up.”