October 25, 2022

Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls Co-Chairs Issue Statement Regarding Russian court's Decision to Uphold Brittney Griner's Nine Year Sentence on Drug Charges

Today, Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Robin Kelly (IL-02), and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) issued the following statement regarding a regional Russian court’s decision to uphold Brittney Griner’s August conviction on charges of drug possession and drug smuggling with criminal intent.

“Our outrage in the face of today’s injustice is surpassed only by my heartbreak for Brittney Griner and the life that was stolen from her. Nine years in a vicious Russian prison is simply disproportionate to her alleged crimes, and upholding her sentence amounts to nothing more than the persecution and exploitation of a Black woman and an American citizen as a pawn in a larger geopolitical conflict. We refuse to relent to such senseless cruelty. And we urge the Biden Administration to do the same. In this solemn moment, our shared commitment to deliberate every possible avenue towards securing Ms. Griner’s freedom is more critical than ever,” said the Co-Chairs. 

“Today, however, Brittney Griner needs more than the support of her nation, but of the countless faithful advocates who have called for her freedom from the day it was taken. She will have it. Though we are all disheartened, make no mistake: the fire we each feel for Brittney Griner’s liberation cannot and will not dim. Our calls for her freedom will not fade until she is home safe and among loved ones, and these painful days are nothing but a distant horror. Until that day, our thoughts will remain with Brittney Griner and her family through the impossible hardships confronting them."