Family, its your favorite queer radio personality Anna DeShawn with our queer news for today. Now, I want to make you a promise. We will continue to bring you the latest in queer news, culture and politics: 7 minutes a day, 5 days a week. So, if you are digging our intersectional take on the daily, consider joining the QCrew.
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BG has been wrongfully detained for 138 days. Our efforts to raise awareness have been working. But to help guarantee BG’s safe return, President Biden and the state department need to negotiate her release from Russia. In the meantime, we need everyone to sign the petition to show your support in securing BG’s return. Every signature matters, so don’t forget to add yours today. As always, the link is in the show notes. We are BG.
And I’m taking our time today to give you an update on BG’s trial and the letter she wrote to President Biden where she says “As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever.”Let’s go family.
Family, first I want to say that we had an epic Pride month and a wonderful Chicago Black Pride weekend. I sat on a number of panels, went to a number of events and we organized our own pride broadcast; Unapologetic: Being Black and Queer in Podcasting. In partnership with ShePodcasts we put together a wonderful event that centered Black Queer podcasters who are doing their thing and doing it well. If you missed it I posted it on the podcast for Black Pride and I’ll include a link in the show notes as well.
Now, this pride month treated me well and now back to life as we know it. Part of that life is Brittney Griner’s trial in Russia. It started on Friday and the prosecution provided specifics on what Brittney is being charged with doing. They are alleging that customs found two vape cartridges which contained over ⅔ grams of hashish oil in BG’s personal book bag and suitcase. They also allege these were for personal use but still illegal in Russia. During the trial the prosecution called said custom agents to testify as well. A representative from the US Embassy in Russia is allowed to attend so chief of mission, Elizabeth Rood, was in attendance. She had an opportunity to talk with BG and said, “She is doing as well as can be expected in these difficult circumstances. And she asked me to convey that she is in good spirits and is keeping up the faith.” BG’s trial will continue on Thursday and we will see what the prosecution has to say. It’s being reported that there could be several of these hearings before Brittney’s defense presents its case.
In the meantime, BG did write a letter to President Biden to implore him to get her home. I want to read the excerpts that were shared with the media. She said, “…as I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of mny wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever.” She goes on to say, “On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran. It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.” The last excerpt says, “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”
It’s heartbreaking. It’s upsetting. It’s truly an unbelievable set of circumstances. She’s facing up to 10 years in a Russian prison for this alleged offense. 10 years. Russia has said they would exchange BG for Viktor Bout, the Russian arms trader known as “the merchant of death”. This man’s nickname alone should tell you this isn’t an even exchange to say the least. He’s serving a 25 year sentence on conviction of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization. Viktor’s exploits are so notorious a movie called “Lord of War” had a character inspired by him and played by Nicolas Cage. They’ve tried to trade him in the past and the U.S. has said no. I don’t see why this time would be any different. I’m sure we’ve got plenty of other Russian criminals in custody to exchange and my hope is this gets figured out real quick.
She is a political prisoner. Period. 99% of people who face court in a Russian court get found guilty. Family, our work to raise awareness has been working. I feel like the letter she wrote got far more press than much of anything else. But to guarantee BG’s safe return, President Biden and the state department needs to negotiate her release from Russia asap.
We all we got.
And let’s close with a word from Dr. King that I feel is so fitting for this moment. This quote is often truncated but I wanted to share the full quote because it truly reminds us that we are all connected. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Till tomorrow, peace.
Brittney Griner Appeals to President Biden Amid Detention in Russia