Black is Polish Collective
Black Is Polish is a group established by Afro-Polish women activists and educators. The initiative leverages the extensive reach of its Instagram account to organize anti-racism educational campaigns in Poland. Black is Polish launched in 2021 with the backdrop of a rise in global Black Lives Matter social justice organizing. The killing of George Floyd in 2020 sparked protests around the world prompting discussions about racism in Poland. It has inspired a linguistic debate that revealed the deep-rooted racism in Polish society and language. The initial hashtag campaign #DontCallMeMurzyn contested the use of a pejorative Polish term for a black person. Black is Polish has been at the forefront of the racial discourse and posted a petition to members of the Polish Language Council to correct the definition of the word Murzyn in the Polish dictionary as well as recognize it as a derogatory term. With the recent crisis in Ukraine, Black is Polish has amplified the work and reach of the anti-racism coalition of CSOs and activists supporting people of color who are fleeing the war in Ukraine and are facing discrimination in the process. The coalition has established a crowdfunding campaign to finance humanitarian aid. Black is Polish has also assisted in family reunification and other direct aid.
Theory of Change
Using social media to raise awareness and solidarity in combating racism in Poland helps achieve racial justice across communities in Europe.
Black is Polish’s Instagram account offers allyship guides, definitions, and explanations of overt/covert forms of discrimination and institutional racism, and how to combat them. The initiative hosts online discussion panels led by Afro-Polish activists and educators. Black is Polish has partnered with the Education Department of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw to produce activities, workshops, and tools for schools, parents, guardians, and teachers. They have also worked on a film about the intergenerational experience of Afro-Poles. Beyond encouraging solidarity and raising awareness, the initiative has served as a source of support for individuals affected by racism. Afro-Polish individuals have shared their personal experiences of racism and thus galvanized a movement. In their effort to help Ukrainian refugees who face racial discrimination, Black is Polish created a webpage for direct assistance. They are facilitating funding for and connection to educational and informational activities as well as services in the areas of transportation, accommodation, healthcare, law, psychological support and translation. They also publish announcements and contact information from aid organizations and embassies, and they work with African migrant organizations to coordinate safe housing for refugees of African descent.
The Black is Polish Instagram account has reached approximately 20K followers. They are leveraging their audience to raise awareness of the compounding discrimination faced by people of color when fleeing Ukraine. They have worked with several organizations, activists and influencers to advocate for assistance and joined the Global Black Coalition in their evacuation efforts. Black is Polish is aiming to grow its audience and expand the conversation of anti-racist education. They intend to start an education program in schools and businesses, as well as partner with black-led organizations in Poland to encourage more diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives.