White House’s Karine Jean-Pierre discusses Brittney Griner, reproductive rights

Jean-Pierre is the 1st Black and openly gay woman to serve as press secretary
Karine Jean-Pierre (middle)

The National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists hosted a special conversation on Aug. 6 with Karine Jean-Pierre. President Joe Biden appointed Jean-Pierre to be his assistant and White House press secretary. Her historic appointment by President Biden makes her the first Black, openly gay LGBTQ+ person to hold the position.

Jean-Pierre began by discussing the pressure of being the “first” to hold the position.


“It’s about action and delivering,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is important for our communities, but there’s always more work to do. We need to uplift each other.”

Jean-Pierre discussed all the current issues going on in the United States and started with WNBA player Brittney Griner being detained in Russia.


“Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained,” Jean-Pierre said. “We want her to come home and the president has been clear about that. This is a commitment. We put a substantial offer on the table for Russia.” Jean-Pierre also talked about the effort to get Paul Whelan released, who was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian prison in June 2020.

Jean-Pierre discussed assault weapons and the harm they’re doing to the country, and what the White House is doing to mitigate the situation.

“The House just passed the assault weapons ban, which we commend them [for] because that is the way we’re going to change,” Jean-Pierre said. “… So we’re going to get the president and his team, and other offices in the White House and have continuous conversations.”

Near the end of the conversation, Jean-Pierre discussed abortion and what women need to do to protect their reproductive rights. On Aug. 2, voters in Kansas decided to keep abortion legal in their state, rejecting a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned abortion in the state.

“Folks need to get out there and make sure that their voices are heard,” Jean-Pierre said. “We have to make sure that people are getting out there, just like they did in Kansas. We have to make sure that we have legislation that protects the right of women and their freedom because it’s not going to stop there.”

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