DeKalb County

African students say they’re being blocked from escaping Ukraine, a local pastor is trying to help

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A metro pastor is trying to help African students desperate to leave Ukraine who say they’re being held back from escaping the war-ravaged country because of their race.

Pastor Jamal Bryant, with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, posted the interaction on social media.

He told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that he is now in contact with another pastor stuck in Ukraine as well.

From a small room in Ukraine, Nigerian pastor Dr. Promise Issac talked to Bryant about what some of his parishioners are going through as they try to escape the country.

“Currently I think we have about 10,000 African students in Ukraine,” Issac said. “What we’ve seen is that most of the African students have been stopped from entering the borders.”

We haven’t independently confirmed all the details, but video that has appeared in social media appears to show a large group of African citizens trying to board a train out of Ukraine.

Officials stand in front of the group.

Then you can see a woman reach for a child before they are both held back, along with the crowd. The train then pulls away.

For days now, African citizens, many of them students, living in Ukraine have reported instances of racism as they try to board trains and buses to Poland and Hungry.

On Monday, African nations on the United Nations’ Security Council publicly condemned discrimination against African citizens at the Ukrainian boarder.

“A lot of people have assumed falsely that racism is just American and didn’t realize that it is really a global pandemic,” Bryant said.

Washington asked Bryant what is being done right now to help get African citizens out of Ukraine safely.

“Both Nigeria and Ghana have representatives at the Poland boarder to escort them out,” Bryant said.