Blogger and plus-size model forced to take a break from Ireland’s community Twitter account after being told to ‘return to your ancestral lands’ by trolls

Michelle Marie

Source: The Guardian

Editor’s note: While this article is 8 months old it highlights the need for organizations like ours and why compiling a directory that supports black women across Europe is critical work. Help us by submitting the names and website links of those organizations that are missing from our directory to contact@bwiesmg.org. Thank you.

Black woman inundated with racist abuse while tweeting for @Ireland

A black British woman who was chosen to tweet from the @ireland account for a week has been subjected to a barrage of racist abuse, forcing her to take a break from Twitter.

Michelle Marie took over the account – which is curated by a different Twitter user in Ireland each week – on Monday. She introduced herself as a mother, blogger and plus-size model.

Originally from Oxford in England, she wrote she had settled in Ireland and “it has my heart”.

However, just hours after taking over the profile – which is followed by nearly 40,000 people – the abuse began.

Ireland
Michelle Marie has been subjected to a torrent of racial abuse on Twitter. Photograph: Michelle Marie/Twitter

Marie received a lot of tweets of support, with many users urging her to report the abuse and block the users responsible.

Ireland

She posted a statement saying that while she had expected

“trolls, backlash and criticism”

she had experienced

“racism, sexism, fatophobia and homophobia to a degree I have never known.”

After

“8hrs of non-stop hate”

she said she was hurt, shocked and appalled but promised she would try again tomorrow.

Marie told the Guardian that the experience had been upsetting.

“I’m saddened that such extreme racism and vitriol is still rife. I am fortunate that experiencing this level of hate is a rarity, but for too many it’s a daily reality,”

she said.

Meet more of our Board

Board Member

Award-winning writer and photographer Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström has photographed and dispatched from roughly 60 countries for various publicationsHer photography is represented by National Geographic Creative.

Her work has appeared in National Geographic TravelerBBCCNNThe GuardianTravel + LeisureSlateTravel Channel, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, National Geographic Channel, several in-flight magazines, amongst others. She was in South Africa on a photography assignment for National Geographic Channel and was featured in a vignette called “Through The Lens” which airs on Nat Geo channel across the globe.

She also owns and runs Geotraveler Media – a multimedia and travel consulting firm providing a spectrum of travel media-related services from writing and photography to web design and social media. She is editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm – an editorial site which encourages travelers to explore Stockholm deeper and slowly.

She is also a founding member of the Nordic Travel Bloggers (NordicTB) collective which brings together the top professional travel influencers and digital storytellers in the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.

Board Member

Kathy ThompsonKathy Thompson is a former classical, neo-contemporary and modern professional dancer. Amsterdam (Scapino). She performed with the Basel Ballet, Switzerland, Cie Nomads, Vevey, Switzerland, Phillip Trehét, LeHarv, France, Pretty Ugly, Freiburg, Germany, and Dortmund Stadtheater, Germany.
After dancing in various productions in Berlin she re-educated herself, moved to Stockholm and worked for foot specialists Scholls where she honed her skills before opening her own salon. Kathy is a foot therapist, lymph massör and Alexandria Body Sugaring hair removal practitioner and Educator. It is not by accident that Kathy is able to use her innate ability to be in tune with the body and mind to bring healing and beauty together in a professional setting in Stockholm city.

Board Member

A native of Gambia, Daphne Norman-Sandberg has called Sweden home since she was two years old.

After earning a Business Administration degree from the University of Gothenburg Daphne spent 24 years as a Social Worker and Human Resources Champion fighting to prevent sexual violence against women and children. She was an advisor to the Swedish Delegation to the UN Commission for the Elimination of Discrimination Again Women in 2010.

She is the proud mother of 3, grandmother of 1 and foster mother to over 40 children from various backgrounds. Somehow, she has found the time to fuel her love of travel. In addition to her monthly trips to the UK to visit the Gambian community, her travels have included visits to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Poland, Iceland and all 3 Baltic States.

Meet our Board – Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer

Founder and Chair

Adrianne George has won many awards for her work in the blogosphere including the Maishagalen Entrepreneur of the Year. She is a sought after speaker with past engagements in San Francisco, Amsterdam, and London. Her 10-year old multi-award winning Black Women in Europe™ Blog received media credentials from the Democratic Party to cover 2012 Democratic National Convention. She was part of an accredited blogging team in 2008.

In 2005 she founded JobsinStockholm.com which at the time was a ground-breaking job board for English speakers in Sweden. She is the co-founder of the Women of the African Diaspora website and social network, BlackExpat.com website, and StockholmExpat.com blog. She is a founding board member of the Black European Women’s Network in Vienna, that received recognition from the European Commission.

Vice Chair

photo credit Bente Jæger

Lesley-Ann Brown is a Trinidadian-American author, freelance journalist, activist and poet. Her recent work examines methods of decolonial narratives fused with political activism. She´s one of the co-founders of Say It Loud, a spoken-word-poetry collective, consisting of Black women poets in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Say It Loud is now the R.A.M. Poetry collective (Random Access Memory). Brown has been featured and invited to participate in a range of events, including  BE.BOP 2016 Black Europe Body Politics, in Berlin and Copenhagen, and she was one of the panelists in and organizers for the first ever Women of Color Panel in Denmark 

Brown attended the New School for Social Research’s Eugene Lang College where she studied Writing & Literature. She later went on to work in New York publishing while freelancing for various magazines. Her move to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1999 inspired her to create the blog www.blackgirlonmars.com – which she has since retired. She´s currently working on a memoir entitled ‘Decolonial Daughter’, to be published in the UK in Spring, 2018 by Repeater Books.

Board Member & Treasurer

Photo credit A.G.

Jonas Lind is a career Military Officer with over 35 years of service to Sweden.  During his career he has moved from the Platoon, Company, Brigade and Joint Staff levels on Gotland, Halmstad,  Stockholm, and England. He has been a popular instructor, mentor, and lecturer and is an avid reader and visitor of historic sights.

He brings his unique Swedish perspective, level-headedness, and talent for forward thinking to our Board.

Black Women in Europe™Social Media Group registration

It is official! We are a recognized non-profit, known as ideel förening, in Sweden.

Black Women in Europe™Social Media Group registration paperwork.

Special thank you to Irene Opira for her insight, keen eye, and above all the time she dedicated to ensuring that our paperwork was correct.

More thanks to our entire Board for taking the necessary time required to hash through, section by section to guarantee our Statutes reflect our values and goals.

Membership

Membership in Black Women In Europe™Social Media Group is open to all black women in Europe and others who share the ideals and goals of Black Women In Europe™Social Media Group. For these purposes, a black woman is defined as having African descent.

We will initiate the application process in 2017. If you would like to receive information email contact@bwiesmg.org and ask to be placed on our mailing list.