We as people need to remember every day how lucky we are. As a country, we do have our problems when it comes to racism and police brutality. But nothing has come close to what Ukraine had to go through on February 24, 2022. That was the day Russia planned an attack in the city of Ukraine, leaving fifty-seven people dead while a hundred and sixty-nine injured. Of course, people would try to leave Ukraine to be safe, but that was not easy since certain people faced discrimination. According to NBC New York, Africans who live in Ukraine have been facing discrimination when trying to flee the country.
“Alexander Somto Orah, 25, was among thousands of people crowding a Kyiv train station Friday, hoping he and his friends could get to safety at the Polish border. Orah said officials wouldn’t allow the group of Africans to board trains out of the region. “(March 1, 2022; NBC New York)
“I said: ‘You say Ukrainians only, but I don’t see you checking passports. I see you picking white people only,’” Orah told NBC News. “The train was not filled before they left, but they never picked us.” (1 March 2022; NBC New York)
How is this the case when these individuals are fighting for their lives? It does not help when officials are racially profiling others; Does that mean certain lives in Ukraine are more important than others? It seems to be the case since Africans get treated lesser than others. People of African descent get treated like garbage around the world. No matter where you go, black folks always have a target on their backs. It has been ingrained in the police force that it is ok to treat black people like animals. There is a reason for me saying this because NBC News has evidence of officials mistreating African students.
“Orah is one of several African citizens living in Ukraine who have reported racist discrimination and abuse at the border. Videos on social media have shown officials appearing to threaten to shoot groups of African students.” (1 March 2022; NBC News)
The sad thing about this whole situation is that this is not the first time officials in Ukraine have done some questionable actions. In the past, they have tortured and harmed people of color before. According to the website Ukraine world, police officers in the country tend to abuse their power.
“On the night of May 23-24, two policemen allegedly tortured and raped a woman in Kaharlyk, a small town in Kyiv Oblast. She had been summoned to the police station for questioning as a witness to a case of theft, but according to reports, an officer at the station put a gas mask on her, handcuffed her, and fired a shotgun over her head to terrorize her. The officer then allegedly raped the woman several times.” (19 June 2020; Ukraine World)
How can they be safe if they have a police force that acts this way? The police officers are not acknowledging their actions and how they can be very harmful to others. They are abusing their power, and it is not safe since they are the only source people have to trust. These actions continue since the government has failed to solve the problem. According to the website Ukraine world, minister Arsen Avakov, seems to be a part of the problem instead of fixing it.
“Even six years into his tenure, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has allowed police abuse to remain a systematic problem that has reincarnated itself under each new government in the Rada. Even worse, Avakov himself has been part of this systemic problem.” (19 June 2020; Ukraine World)
Whenever there is a problem that keeps recurring in general, we must look at the higher power in society and see who is the cause of it. The last thing you need as a nation is an untrustworthy leadership. In a world of black lives matter, we have learned that our safety as people of color is not a priority in society. No matter where we are, we must protect our people because if we do not do it, no one else will.
My name is Brianna Sunshine Gray and I am a Bostonian who has a passion for telling stories that affect the community. With experience in addressing issues within my own personal blog, I make sure I have people on the edge of my seats. Hopefully you guys enjoy my content as much as I enjoy writing