After reports of discrimination, Black people in Ukraine save themselves

by Ezekiel J. Walker
After reports of discrimination, Black people in Ukraine save themselves
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Discrimination and outright racist claims against Ukrainian officials have caused many Black people still in Ukraine to restrategize their exodus from the war-torn country. African citizens, in particular students, have reported incidents of racial discrimination and abuse at the Ukrainian border with Poland.

These reports have included beatings, being denied entry to trains, or simply being left stranded in border towns as White Ukrainian refugees escape and leave them behind.

Discrimination for being Black in Ukraine

According to NBC News, Tolulope Osho, 31, reached the Polish border the day after Russia invaded Ukraine. Osho, who’s from Nigeria, returned to Ternopil, in western Ukraine, where he’s remained in a safe zone for the past week.

He’s helped shelter people in underground bunkers, driven them to borders, and provided money through a fundraiser. In total, he said he and a friend have assisted some 200 people. Osho has relied heavily on Instagram, where people across the country have reached out to ask for money and transportation.

Organizations like the Lviv Center for Urban HistoryFight for RightBOCTOK-SOS and the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights are providing food, a ride to shelter for those fleeing the conflict, and anything in between.

#AfricanInUkraine and #BlackInUkraine.

Along with Osho, a trio of women, Korrine Sky, Tokunbo Koiki, and Patricia Daley formed Black Women for Black Lives to provide nearby Africans and Caribbeans with information on the safest routes through areas where they might face discrimination while trying to escape.

Another group of Black women started the Black in Ukraine group chat on Telegram, a messaging app, which has facilitated communication for more than 4,500 Black people in the country and coordinated with one another for the bare necessities of safety and transportation.

“We created a document (that) the students were able to refer to, to find where the borders were, which borders were safe,” and at which borders Black people had experienced racism, Daley said. “It became a guide that included a list of accommodations, a list of drivers, contacts for when students were crossing over. ”

Whether wading through water in the Underground Railroad or navigating America using the Green Book, historically Black people have had to be highly perceptive, fast-on-our-feet, succinct communicators, and expertly agile as a means of survival.

It’s a lesson passed down from generation to generation just like the popular African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to far, go together.”

7 comments

Fleeing Haitians met with border resistance off Florida coast March 8, 2022 - 10:20 am

[…] history, Black people have had to save themselves when others wouldn’t. Even present-day, fleeing Africans in Ukraine have banded together to avoid numerous reports of discrimination from Ukrainian […]

Hankel Gug March 9, 2022 - 3:58 pm

Ukraine belongs to the Ukrainians. I hope they leave and never come back! Everywhere that the black steps foot turns to garbage.

Catnip March 25, 2022 - 6:28 am

Hankel Gug, if that was indeed the rule… where would you be ? Or what if Poland felt that way and not open their borders? Black/African people have nothing to do with what is happening in Ukraine. But people like you continue to destroy this world with such ignorance on so many different levels.

Earnest March 12, 2022 - 1:14 pm

How do you expect the world to sympathize with you racist people?your country deserves all the bad things that are happening to you. You and Ukraine can go to hell for all I care

Joey Lin March 24, 2022 - 10:07 pm

No sympathy for Ukraine. Not sending my money there.

Fleeing Blacks in Ukraine now housed in long-term detention facilities March 28, 2022 - 3:25 pm

[…] in droves from the deadly bombardment of their country. Since the onset of the rising conflict, nonwhite refugees have struggled to exit Ukraine with the level of deference and relative ease of white […]

Biden to welcome 100K Ukrainians as Black immigrants are deported April 7, 2022 - 11:57 am

[…] double standard has been felt near and far. From Blacks being discriminated against by Ukrainian officials while trying to flee the war-ravaged country to being held in European detention centers without […]

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