We are inundated with images of white European refugees “who look like us.” Reporters have cried salty tears and invited everyone watching to also cry salty tears for these refugees fleeing Ukraine by the millions. And we do. We cry for these Ukrainians. We pray for the Ukrainian people and the Russian people. It's what humans do; we feel with and for each other.
However, even as we witness an outpouring of humane, compassionate treatment towards European Ukrainian refugees, we are aware of reports of the inhumane, brutal treatment of African, Asian, East Indian and Muslim refugees who are also trying to find safety and sustenance for themselves and their families.
These people who are also suffering the terrors of war, displacement, hunger, and cold are not treated as human beings worthy of the same sympathy and resources as “European” Ukrainians. Instead, they are pushed and pulled off buses and trains, told to walk if they want to make it to the borders, and met not with blankets and sandwiches when they get there, but with drawn guns. It is easy not to see them, because they are routinely not pictured with the thousands of white Ukrainian refugees shown on the nightly news.
But we see them. We hear them. And we will send help. We invite all who also see and hear those whom Ukraine routinely leaves behind to send donations to help African, Arab, East Indian and Muslim fellow human beings to leave Ukraine to get back home or to other places of relative safety. Remember, they are not given the same aid and refugee status white Ukrainians are being given the world over. They need our help.
Patricia Daley, one of the founders of BlackWomenforBlackLives said in The Guardian,
“There was a gap in the access Black people and Brown people were getting. There was no one offering their homes to Black people, no one offering to pick up the Black individual. . . There was a tremendous amount of people offering help and support, but, I feel like it was limited to Ukrainian nationals, excluding a group of people. There was a need to support Black people because they were not getting the support and access. There was a gap and we bridged it.”
Fine words by Patricia Daley. We must work to enact them. If you, your congregation, mosque, synagogue or other houses of worship and social service organizations would like to help, please contribute to BlackWomenforBlackLives.org.
Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms, Co-Pastor New Beginnings Christian Community
Apostle Sarah A. Kelley, Pastor of Faith, Hope and Love Int’l Healing and Deliverance Center
Rev. Dr. Alvin Edwards, Pastor, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church
Rev. Dorothy Piatt-Esguerra, Associate Pastor for University and Social Justice, Westminster Presbyterian
Rev. Sandra Wisco, ELCA retired pastor
Rev. Wm T. Stewart, ELCA retired pastor
Rev. Ellen Longmoore, Retired Chaplain
Rev. Maren Hange, Co-Pastor, Charlottesville Mennonite Church
Rev. Robert Lewis, Pastor, Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church
Dr. Elizabeth Emrey, Co-Pastor New Beginnings Christian Community
Pastor Devin Coles, Amazing Changes Ministries
Elizabeth Shillue, Charlottesville Friends Meeting
Rev. Carol C. Sims, Episcopal Priest, Retired
Rev David Garth, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Alex Joyner, Pastor, First United Methodist Church
Sharon Beckman-Brindley, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville
Rev. Susan Steinberg, Presbyterian Church (USA) Minister-at-Large
Rabia Povich, Cheraga, Inayatiyya
Adam Slate, Seminarian, Unitarian Universalists of Charlottesville
Rev. Alexandra McGee, Unitarian Universalist
Gayle Jessup White
Rev. Liz Hulme Adam
Rev. Dr. Michael Cheuk, Charlottesville Clergy Collective