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WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich Was My Son’s College Roommate. Here’s How to Help Him as He Marks 1 Year in Russian Detainment

WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich Was My Son’s College Roommate. Here’s How to Help Him as He Marks 1 Year in Russian Detainment

By Tanya Lopez Brooks
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March 29 marked exactly one year since Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich was unlawfully detained in Russia for doing his job. My husband, Stan Brooks, wrote an essay about Evan for The Sunday Paper last year. Evan was our son Simon's college roommate and best friend. I am writing now to update you on what it's been like for Evan, his family, and friends, and to offer ways you can help.

You may have seen Evan's parents, Mikhail and Ella, at the State of the Union address. Both were dressed in their most patriotic outfits. They are grateful that the Biden administration has not shied away from keeping Evan's plight in the news and the administration's commitment to bringing him home.

Evan receives scheduled visits from the US Ambassador to Russia, as well as from his attorneys. His parents are not allowed to visit. I will let you sit with that for a minute. What if your son or daughter, sister or brother is in a Russian prison, and you were not allowed to see, talk, or touch them?

It has been 12 months, and the only communication to and from Evan has been through letters and his attorneys—that, or seeing him on the news behind a glass cage. We are always checking for signs. Is he nervous? Has he lost weight? Does he seem despondent? Does he know we are all watching? How is he possibly coping?

The good news is that Evan is coping. He is an amazing kid. Funny and self-deprecating, he worries more about his family than himself. His self-discipline has helped create a structure that deals with the monotony: daily Exercise, reading, and conversations with his cellmate.

Evan receives many letters that have been translated and edited for security purposes. His parents and sister write constantly, as do his friends. He spends time writing back to family and friends, keeping in touch with the outside world. Evan loves hearing about pop culture. He couldn't believe the impact that Taylor Swift's era tour caused and said he would have to catch a show when he was out. He said he'd love to hear from her if she's in the neighborhood. He was thrilled that his favorite show, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, has not been canceled, and he loves the updates on his favorite soccer team.

Our son Simon got married last year, and Evan was supposed to be there. We all thought of him on that joyous day. Evan wants to know how it all went. He wants to know what is happening with all his friends and how they are moving forward. He thinks about where he will live when he gets back and how that will be.

Evan is now 32. His whole life is ahead of him. Yet still, he is being unjustly held in a Russian prison.

As you read this, you may think, How can I help? There are many ways. One is to use social media to make noise. Please go to your accounts and tell your friends and family to post #IStandWithEvan. Tell the world you stand with Evan, with justice, with what is right.

More ways to help include:

Donating to the Evan Gershkovich GoFundMe Page

Sending letters of support to Evan at:

Connecting with Evan's Family and Friends at:

This will make a difference.

It all makes a difference.

We can do this.

The views expressed in Sunday Paper Guest Opinions are those of the authors and do not represent the views or positions of The Sunday Paper.

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