Here are organizations to support and simple ways to help during the ongoing refugee crisis.

By James Factora, Teen Vogue

This story was originally published by them.

Social media has been flooded with support for the people of Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the sovereign eastern European nation last week. The ongoing military operation, which has already resulted in thousands of civilian and military casualties, has produced a massive refugee crisis that has driven roughly half a million civilians out of Ukraine as of Monday, according to the United Nations.

The growing crisis has also called attention to the fact that marginalized refugees face particular challenges that those who are more privileged don’t. Black Ukrainians have been faced with racism and xenophobia at the borders from Ukrainian border patrol, who are pushing so-called “Ukrainian first” policies. And LGBTQ+ Ukrainians fear increased repression from Russia, citing the country’s ban on gay marriage and anti LGBTQ+ “propaganda” law. LGBTQ+ Ukrainians who might flee to the neighboring nation of Poland are far from guaranteed safe reception, with anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments running rampant in the conservative, predominantly Catholic country.

Ukrainian refugees fleeing to border

Luckily, organizations from the grassroots to the international level are taking steps to protect refugees who face additional layers of danger. Read on for some concrete ways you can help, and organizations you can donate to that provide direct aid to displaced Ukrainians.

As a disclaimer: In times of immediate crisis, mass grassroots efforts tend to emerge overnight. While this is undoubtedly a good thing, and can often lead to people receiving aid much more quickly than if they had to deal with the bureaucracies that tend to come with large nonprofit organizations, it also means that there is the potential for bad actors to emerge and take advantage of people’s goodwill. That being said, you should do whatever research you can whenever you distribute funds, whether that’s looking up a nonprofit’s Form 990 or checking someone’s social media account to see if they’ve posted any receipts of how they’re using people’s money.

Boost the stories of Black refugees

Multiple reports have shown that not all refugees fleeing Ukraine are being treated equally — and namely, that Black refugees are being denied passage both out of Ukraine and into neighboring countries. According to Business Insider, Ukraine is home to thousands of students hailing from all over the African diaspora who come to the Eastern European country to study “medicine and other technical fields at affordable prices.” The Twitter hashtag #AfricansinUkraine has been flooded with footage, photos, and personal accounts of Black people being denied passage by Ukrainian border guards, due to supposed “Ukrainian-first” policies.

Korrine Sky, an organizer who has been helping coordinate resources for Afro-Carribean students fleeing Ukraine, shared a thread with ways to help. That includes a link to a GoFundMe run by Londoner Tokunbo Koiki, which will assist students with “funds for accommodation and flights when they get to Poland or to even get to some of the other cities in Ukraine that are currently consider safe.”

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