When news broke of Russia’s deadly invasion of Ukraine, many of us in the U.S. expressed an outpouring of support and sympathy for Ukrainians being killed and displaced by bombs and missile strikes. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Black people to remember that anti-Blackness is a global phenomenon as reports of thousands of Africans being abandoned, forced off refuge trains, and turned away at the Ukrainian border while trying to escape certain death-filled our newsfeeds.
And as usual, wherever anti-Black injustice exists, you can find Black women leading the charge against it.
From Sky News:
London-based Patricia Daley, a 29-year-old barrister and Tokunbo Koiki, a 40-year-old social worker, spotted Korrine Sky’s tweets on her journey trying to escape Ukraine.
The 26-year-old, who was studying in Dnipro, has now safely fled to Romania and documented her journey out of the country as Russian troops advanced.
In fact, Sky spent days chronicling her hardships while trying to exit the country, which included an altercation with a white Ukrainian who didn’t appear to want her there.
It appears that eventually, things worked out.
But Sky didn’t just get herself through the border and keep it moving. Instead, she coordinated with Daley and Koiki, and the trio began a campaign to raise funds for other Black students being prevented from safely crossing the border, and there was plenty of video footage circulating social media to back their efforts.
“I do think they have been treated differently at borders because of their skin,” Daley told Sky News. “Racism is now happening even in situations where there is war.”
Koiki, who said she had been in contact with black students attempting to flee Ukraine, echoed the same sentiments.
“People said they were pushed, sent back and physically assaulted on both sides of the border in Ukraine, Romania and Poland,” she said.
As of press time, Sky, Daley, and Koiki have reportedly been able to raise more than $60,000 to help hundreds of Black students who are trying to flee.
It shouldn’t have been necessary, but it was. And as always, not all heroes wear capes.
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