By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA

 

After 294 days in Russian custody, including the past several weeks in a dreaded and dangerous penal colony, WNBA star Brittney Griner is free.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with Griner’s wife at the White House, where they spoke with the basketball player on the telephone.

“She’s safe. She’s on a plane. She is on her way home,” Biden declared.

The Biden administration secured Griner’s release after agreeing to a one-for-one prisoner swap that saw the president commute the 25-year sentence of notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The White House said it would continue efforts to bring home retired U.S. military officer Paul Whelan, who remains in Russian custody.

Whelan has been imprisoned in Russia for nearly four years, and, recently, his family said they hadn’t heard from him.

They were told he was transferred to a hospital, but the family doubted that explanation.

The deal to release Griner was consummated a week ago in the United Arab Emirates.

Biden said Griner’s expected home within 24 hours.

“It’s a good morning,” the president exclaimed at a news conference where Vice President Kamala Harris and Griner’s wife, Cherelle, stood close.

“After months of being unjustly detained and held under intolerable circumstances, she’s coming home,” Biden asserted.

The president said his administration “never stopped pushing for her release.”

“It took painstaking and intense negotiations for her release,” Biden stated.

He thanked the UAE for helping to facilitate Griner’s release and noted that’s where her plane landed after finally leaving Russia.


Biden noted that the past few months had been “hell” for Griner and her family.

He said she’s in good spirits and relieved.

“She lost months of her life,” Biden stated.

He said she deserves space, privacy, and time to heal in a not-so-subtle appeal to media members.

Biden added that Griner wrote him in July, not asking for special treatment.

“She said, please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees,” Biden said.

“We have not forgotten about Brittney and Paul Whelan.”

Biden emphasized that the one-for-one swap wasn’t America’s choice.

He said he wished to bring Whelan and any other wrongly detained American home.

“We have not yet secured Paul’s release. But we have not given up, and we will never give up,” Biden insisted.

“We’ll keep negotiating for Paul’s release in good faith. I urge Russia to do the same. My administration has brought home dozens of wrongly detained Americans and many who were detained before I took office,” Biden continued.

“Reunited Americans with their loved ones remain a priority. We will continue to work to bring home every American who endures such injustice.”

Cherelle Griner called Brittney’s plight one of the darkest moments of her life.

“Over the last nine months, you all have been privy to one of the darkest moments of my life. I’m overwhelmed with emotion but sincere gratitude to President Biden and his administration,” Cherelle Griner stated.

“Today, my family is whole. As you are aware, there are so many families who are not whole. BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home, including Paul, who remains in our hearts.”

As expected, civil rights activists, many in the sports world, and politicians applauded Griner’s release.

“This is long overdue,” Rev. Jesse Jackson declared. “This is a cause for global celebration and could be a step toward peace. Releasing prisoners and prisoner swaps as opposed to more bombing and killing is good news,” Jackson stated.

Texas Democratic Congressman Al Green said he was delighted at the timing of Griner’s release.

“There’s no place like home for the holidays,” Green tweeted.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King tweeted, “Thank you to President Biden and all those who worked so hard to secure her freedom.”

And fellow Democratic Texas Rep. Colin Allred called Griner’s release a relief.

“Brittney Griner is coming home. This is a huge relief for Brittney and her family after months of uncertainty,” Allred said.

“I commend President Biden, Secretary [Antony] Blinken, the State Department, and all those who made this happen. We remain committed to getting every American detained abroad back home.”

The Black Press of America also saluted the Biden administration’s efforts in bringing Griner home.

“The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) profoundly welcomes the release of Brittney Griner from a Russian prison,” NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. stated.

The NNPA is the trade association of more than 230 African American-owned newspapers and media companies in the United States.

“Brittney Griner was a political prisoner,” continued Chavis, the leader of the famed Wilmington 10, also political prisoners.

“Thanks to the effective leadership of President Joe Biden, our beloved sister is now free,” Chavis declared.

 

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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