State Watch

New mural in D.C. features faces of Brittney Griner, other Americans detained abroad

A new mural unveiled Wednesday in Washington, D.C., features the faces of WNBA star Brittney Griner and 17 other Americans detained abroad.

The Bring Our Families Home Campaign held a ceremony on Wednesday to present the white-and-gray mural on the brick wall of an alley in the Georgetown neighborhood of the nation’s capitol.

The faces of 18 Americans currently held hostage or detained abroad are featured side by side, although there are 64 known cases of Americans being wrongfully held across the world, according to the Bring Our Families Home Campaign.

Those featured on the mural include Americans held in Venezuela, China, Iran, Russia, Syria and Rwanda.

Several family members of those detained abroad spoke at the event, sharing stories about their relatives’ lives in captivity and pushing for the U.S. to do everything in its power to secure their release.

Diane Foley, the mother of journalist James Foley, who was executed by members of ISIS in 2014, said Wednesday the mural was an “urgent message” from the family members of detained Americans.

“That’s why they’ve come together, they’re desperate, they’re so afraid of what is going to happen to their loved ones,” she said.

Calls for the release of Griner, a basketball star who was arrested in Russia for carrying cartridges of hash oil, have grown across the sports world since she was jailed earlier this year.

The Biden administration, which was able to secure the release of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed from Russia in April, has promised to bring more Americans home, including Paul Whelan, another former Marine held in Russia.

On Tuesday, the White House released executive action that seeks to bolster information sharing to families seeking to bring their relatives home.

The Biden administration’s Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens spoke Wednesday at the unveiling ceremony, where he promised a “relentless” effort to bring the Americans home.

Carstens also praised the mural for offering an “emotional connection” to the Americans detained abroad.

“There’s no way you can walk down this alley and not be moved by what you’re seeing, not connect with who you are looking at,” Carstens said. “My intent is to come back here some night, after everyone’s gone, and walk this alley.”

Isaac Campbell, who designed the mural, said on Wednesday the artwork was “more than just a mural.”

“It’s about the act of creating something together collaboratively,” he said, “to bring these families together.”

Tags Americans detained abroad americans detained abroad Bring Our Families Home Campaign Brittney Griner Brittney Griner Georgetown James Foley Mural Paul Whelan Trevor Reed Washington DC Washington DC
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