My inmate number is ND7568. I’m calling this piece, “The Release of Brittney Griner.” This is Kenjuan Congo, Jr. calling from a prison camp behind enemy lines.
WNBA superstar Brittney Griner is a WNBA Champion and a two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist. Britney was detained in Russia on February 17, 2022. On May 3rd, the U.S. declared she was wrongfully detained. Now on December 8 2022, President Biden and his administration announced Brittney’s return via a prisoner swap.
First off, honestly I’m happy that Brittney Griner has been free and is returning home. Britney’s situation highlights many, many fundamental issues. The American government wanted the grassroots to sit idly by and remain silent. They spoke about wanting to deal with Brittney Griner quietly behind closed doors, away from public scrutiny. But that didn’t happen.
Political commentators Van Jones and Abby Phillips gave credits to the grassroots for applying public pressure. Brittney’s wife Cherelle Griner called for a meeting with President Biden on national television. And on September 16, the meeting finally happened. It didn’t stop there. Campaigns from the grassroots continued. There comes a time where silence is complicity and the people refuse to be complicit.
Light was also shed on why Brittney was in Russia to begin with. Her wife Cherelle talked about how Brittney didn’t even want to go to Russia but had to because WNBA players are underpaid. If the government cares about Brittney Griner so much, they [inaudible] economic sexism.
Brittney was declared wrongfully detained, while at the same time, America wrongfully detained people right here, unlawful conviction after unlawful conviction after a local conviction. Wrongful detainment is standard operating procedure in United States.
The government also acts as if it cares about the LGBTQ community and black women. This past week in North Carolina, white nationalists targeted infrastructure, taking out power in a whole county. That attack was over a gay event where white nationalist protested in camouflage with AR15s. The government is not there to protect the LGBT community, yet the government comes up in full force with tanks, shields, firing canisters, and all when non-violent, unarmed, marginalized communities protest.
I remember Breonna Taylor at “Say her name.” I recognize that the government not only doesn’t protect the LGBTQ community and black women, but it seems as it aids and abets far-right extremists.
The Brittney Griner situation highlights America wanting for us to be quiet, women been underpaid, they’re wrongfully detained right here in the United States, and the government failing to protect and serve black woman and the LGBTQ community.
Sadly, these are just a few of the many, many atrocities. The government wants to point the finger at Russia when its own house isn’t even in order. Yes, I’m glad Brittney Griner is home. Yes, I am. Still, there’s more work to be done. And justice is injustice no matter where it’s at.
This is Kenjuan Congo, Jr. calling from a prison camp behind enemy lines. Thank you. All power to the people.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.