Strangers ban together to help get Black people facing racism out of Ukraine

The story of one woman's journey compelled them all to act.

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Three Black women have used the power of social media to help minorities who are trying to flee besieged Ukraine, but are stuck there because of racism. 

Under the moniker “Koko,” Korrine Sky chronicled her journey out of Ukraine on Twitter, and the tweets caught the attention of Patricia Daley and Tokunbo Koiki, two women in London.

The trio contacted each other on Twitter and that connection led to a GoFundMe campaign which has so far raised nearly £139,000, or nearly $182,000 USD, to help get Black people out of Ukraine.

The women are using the money to help pay for transportation costs out of the country, and they so far have helped 500 Black students, Sky News reported. The women also use the texting app Telegram as a place for Africans in Ukraine to connect, ABC News reported.

“As soon as we found out…and the police were heavily discriminating against black and brown individuals. We started up an organization to support these individuals, make it so that they would not be prosecuted,” Daley, a 29-year-old London-based lawyer, told ABC News.

African refugees in Ukraine
Refugees from many different countries – from Africa, Middle East and India – mostly students of Ukrainian universities are seen at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, in eastern Poland on February 27, 2022. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP) (Photo by WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Daley told Sky News she’s been in contact with terrified students who told her about racist incidents as they tried to leave Ukraine.

“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.”

About 80,000 international students from more than 150 countries study in Ukraine, according to the country’s Ministry of Education and Science. About 16,000 of those students come from Morocco, Nigeria, and Egypt, Sky News reported.

“I think it’s very upsetting and disheartening to hear that these students not only have to deal with the fear of fleeing a war, on top of that to deal with discrimination and racial prejudices that we have to deal with every day,” Daley told ABC News.

Ukraine has faced criticism following reports that Black people are being treated differently as they try to leave the country.

Additionally, the UN has acknowledged instances of racist behavior and condemned them. Still, the Ukraine ambassador to the United Kingdom suggested segregating “foreigners” who “stand out in a crowd” from Ukrainians trying to flee the war-torn country.

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