Four months since WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained, the athlete stepped into a Russian courtroom to formally begin her fight to be freed and return home to the U.S.
In a show of solidarity, Change.org teamed up with Brittney Griner’s teammates, family and legal team to cover the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., with more than 6,000 square feet of digital ads demanding Griner’s freedom.
A Change.org petition, started by sports journalist Tamryn Spruill, is just a few signatures shy of 300,000.
“The trial renews concerns for BG’s well-being because it is occurring in another country, under a very different legal system, which most of us know little about,” said Tamryn Spruill in a press release. “What inspires hope, though, is the steady stream of public support and media interest. Now, we’ve reached new heights, with these billboards going up at this very critical juncture. When people look up at them, I want them to see their partners, their daughters, their sisters, and their friends. Mostly, I want them to see themselves. Because none of us is free until all of us are free.”
The athlete was arrested at a Moscow airport for alleged cannabis possession in February. Her trial kicked off on July 1. If convicted, Griner faced up to 10 years in prison.
“On the heels of Juneteenth and as we near July 4th, days many Americans celebrate freedom, it is vital that we come together and call on President Biden and Vice President Harris to do everything in their power to get a deal done to bring our sister, an American hero, Brittney Griner home,” said WNBPA President and WNBA Sparks star, Nneka Ogwumike.
In February, news broke that Russia had wrongfully detained Griner for allegedly traveling with cannabis oil cartridges. Thousands of supporters around the world have since voiced fears about the safety of basketball superstar, including many high-profile celebrities and sports stars. In June, the Boston Celtics wore WE ARE BG shirts featuring a QR code linking to the Change.org petition on their practice shirts during the NBA Finals.
Dozens of organizations — including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the National Urban League, the National Women’s Law Center and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association — penned a letter addressed to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, urging them to fight harder for Griner’s release.
“Since February, Change.org has seen an overwhelming amount of support for Brittney Griner and their collective voices are louder than ever,” said Aminata Diallo, Campaigner for Change.org. “Brittney is an American, an Olympian and a WNBA All-Star yet has been stripped of her freedoms. We are working with her team to do everything we can to remind the public that this fight is not over until she is home.”
To learn more about Brittney’s case, please visit www.wearebg.org