WRITTEN & CONTRIBUTED BY KHAMERON RILEY
What You Need to Know:
People of color and foreign citizens are experiencing racist attacks preventing them from leaving Ukraine and seeking asylum.
Nigerian student Jessica spoke to BBC via Twitter about her journey out of Ukraine. She is among the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the country and one of the many under the hashtag #AfricansinUkraine who experienced racism at its borders. Jessica details her story of attempting to board a bus out of the country to Poland after walking 12 hours to get there. The bus driver greeted her saying, “Ukrainians only” and “if you are black, you should walk.” She even lied and said she was pregnant, but no sympathy came from the driver.
Her story is one of many trending stories as countless more struggle to leave the warzone. There are numerous videos on Twitter of Ukrainians allegedly blocking clusters of Africans from boarding trains and buses. On February 28, Addis Ababa, the current Chair of the African Union, along with other officials, released a statement responding to the horrendous mistreatment of asylum seekers. They decry the racism experienced by people and noted they are watching the events unfold closely.
The Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland released a statement responding to the reports denouncing them as “fake news,” but leaders around the world have responded to reports in support of the people on the ground. According to the Irish Times, an estimated 20% of Ukrainian students are African.
Why You Need to Know:
I’m absolutely speechless at these horrendous acts extended toward my African brothers and sisters. I pray for them as they find themselves struggling not only in a warzone but also in a place of hate.