IAC Leadership Response to Ukraine Crisis

The Inclusion Allies Coalition Leadership is greatly concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and its impact in particular on under-served communities across Europe and around the world. 

This is a difficult time for those of us in the diversity, equity and inclusion community, who are committed to mitigating exclusion of marginalized people around the world. For those of us who are in and/or have family and colleagues in the Ukraine, Russia, and Europe, this is an especially distressing time. 

Weeks of war have created a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine which the United Nations estimates has led to an estimated 2 million Ukrainians leaving their country, and the number is expected to grow. However, not everyone has had equal access to leave Ukraine for safety. Stories of racism experienced by people  attempting to leave Ukraine amid Russian attacks on immigrants and students have been reported. Numerous stories have emerged of African and South Asian refugees being pushed off buses and trains, forced to make the long, hazardous journey on foot. Upon reaching the border, they have reportedly been forced to wait in segregated groups as Ukrainian nationals cross first. Other accounts have described how Black and Asian refugees have been met with violence, with border guards beating them with sticks and pushing them to the back of the queue.

There is also growing fear of antisemitism building in the country and reports of discrimination against people with disabilities being “left behind” due to a lack of infrastructure and the challenge of crossing the border. According to the United Nations, “Persons with disabilities, when compared to the general population, face higher risks in conflict situations and natural disasters. Research shows that the mortality rate among persons with disabilities tends to be two to four times higher than among the general population.”

The Inclusion Allies Coalition stands firmly against aggression against Ukrainians and in particularly discrimination against marginalized groups seeking safety from the unrest.  We advocate for the safety and full inclusion of all people who desire to leave Ukraine.  We stand as allies for those of Russian ancestry living in other parts of the world who may be the target of discrimination. We are aligned in our hope that members of the IAC who may live in the impacted area, including families and friends of members, are safe and unharmed during this war.

The IAC joins in solidarity with those who are reaching out to their networks and partners to provide expertise, mutual aid, and peer support to Ukrainians.  To amplify this outreach, we would like to share some additional avenues for supporting marginalized groups impacted by the war. 

The uncertainty of this war is challenging and cause for concern for all people affected, especially for those who are disadvantaged.  The IAC Leadership is committed to providing DEI global colleagues with valuable resources and a network of members who share our global vision of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion for all.

In Allyship,

Margaret Regan, President & CEO, FWI, Founder, IAC

Andrea Cisco, Chief Operating Officer, FWI, Founder, IAC

Miriam Muléy, Co-Chair, IAC Leadership Council

Greg Jenkins, Co-Chair, IAC Leadership Council