January 2019

Addressing Racism in Sweden The Case of the Pregnant Woman in the Swedish Metro

In February 2019, a pregnant Black woman was assaulted on the Stockholm metro. Lovette Jallow and Action for Humanity provided essential support and advocacy.

most beautiful baby

Overview of the Project

In February 2019, a deeply troubling incident occurred on the Stockholm metro involving Jeanine, a heavily pregnant Black woman who faced brutal assault by security guards. This project focuses on this case to highlight the systemic racism embedded in Swedish society and advocate for comprehensive reforms. Through this lens, we aim to bring attention to the pervasive issue of racism in Sweden and the urgent need for systemic change.

Racism in Sweden – The Importance of Addressing It

Despite Sweden’s global reputation for social progressiveness, the reality for many, especially within the Black community, is starkly different. Instances of racial discrimination and violence are all too common, revealing deep-seated systemic biases that need urgent addressing. It is crucial to foster a society that truly values equality and human rights for all its members, irrespective of their background or ethnicity.

Role of Action for Humanity

At the forefront of this fight stands Action for Humanity, an organization founded and led by Lovette Jallow. Our mission is to advocate for social justice and support victims of racism. Through education, advocacy, and direct support, we aim to amplify the voices of marginalized communities and drive systemic change. This project is a testament to our unwavering commitment to creating a more inclusive and just society.

Understanding the Context of Racism in Sweden

Racism remains a persistent issue in Sweden, affecting many individuals and communities. Despite the country’s reputation for equality and human rights, systemic racism continues to impact the daily lives of people of color, particularly Black Swedes.

Current State and Statistics

  • Racial Discrimination: Studies and reports indicate that racial discrimination in Sweden is a significant problem. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (BRÅ) reported that Black people are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and racial violence and only 4% are ever resolvedin the legal system.
  • Employment Disparities: Black Swedes face considerable challenges in the job market, with higher rates of unemployment and underemployment compared to their white counterparts, even with higher education. Our study reveals a large pay gap between Afro-Swedes and the rest of the population. In the private sector, people born in sub-Saharan Africa are paid 25% less, and Afro-Swedes born in Sweden with at least one parent born in sub-Saharan Africa are paid 36% less than the rest of the population.
  • Healthcare Inequities: Racial bias in Swedish healthcare is well-documented, affecting both staff and patients. Black patients often receive lower-quality care and suffer from prejudices. For example, a young man died from a brain haemorrhage after his symptoms were misinterpreted due to his ethnicity. Foreign-born women report feeling unsafe in maternity care; one nearly died due to incorrect assumptions about her medical history. Data shows higher maternal mortality among foreign-born women. Patients sometimes reject doctors based on their names or appearance, and some doctors adopt Swedish-sounding names to secure jobs. Many health regions lack plans to address discrimination, and medical programs often fail to address the impact of racism and biases on care. These systemic issues demand urgent reform to ensure equitable healthcare for all.
  • Education Gaps: Educational institutions in Sweden also reflect racial disparities, with students of African descent experiencing higher dropout rates and lower academic performance due to systemic biases.

The Case of Jeanine – Pregnant Black Woman Assaulted on Stockholm Metro

The Post

Original post of pregnant woman in metro assaulted

In February 2019, the systemic racism prevalent in Swedish society was starkly illustrated by the incident involving Jeanine, a heavily pregnant Black woman, on the Stockholm metro. Jeanine, who was eight months pregnant, was violently assaulted by security guards after a minor ticketing issue escalated.

Jeanine, a mother of two who had experienced a miscarriage a year prior, was subjected to brutal force, causing her severe distress and physical injuries. The Afro-Swedish community, recognizing the severity of the incident and the potential health risks to Jeanine and her unborn child, sought the assistance of Lovette Jallow and Action for Humanity.

The Role of Action for Humanity

Lovette Jallow, through Action for Humanity, took immediate action to support Jeanine. This included providing emotional and logistical support, covering legal expenses, and advocating for Jeanine’s rights. Lovette’s involvement was crucial in bringing attention to the incident and ensuring Jeanine received the necessary medical care and support.

The case highlights the broader issues of racial profiling, excessive use of force, and inadequate training among security personnel in Sweden. It also underscores the need for systemic change to address the deep-seated biases that perpetuate such incidents.

Methodology and Implementation Strategy

In 2019, Lovette Jallow and Action for Humanity took extensive measures to address systemic racism and support Jeanine, a heavily pregnant Black woman who faced brutal assault by security guards on the Stockholm metro. This methodology outlines the compassionate and comprehensive approach taken to achieve our goals of raising awareness, advocating for justice, promoting systemic change, and supporting victims.

Step-by-Step Implementation

Case Documentation and Legal Support

  • Documenting the Incident with Care: Lovette Jallow and her team meticulously gathered all relevant information, including eyewitness accounts, medical reports, and video evidence of the incident involving Jeanine, ensuring that her story was told accurately and sensitively.
  • Compassionate Legal Representation: They secured a dedicated lawyer with the legal expertise and a deep understanding of the emotional toll such incidents take on victims. This lawyer provided Jeanine with unwavering support and the best possible legal advice.
  • Alleviating Financial Burdens: Action for Humanity allocated funds to cover all legal expenses, ensuring that Jeanine and her family did not face additional stress due to financial constraints.

Public Awareness Campaign

  • Amplifying Voices through Media: Utilizing both traditional and social media platforms, Lovette Jallow shared Jeanine’s story, bringing attention to her plight and the broader issue of systemic racism. The narrative encouraged empathy and action.
  • Engaging the Community: Organized community meetings, webinars, and workshops created safe spaces for discussion and education on the realities of racism in Sweden. These initiatives fostered solidarity and mobilized support for anti-racism efforts.
  • Creating Informative and Empathetic Content: Articles, videos, and infographics were developed and shared to inform and resonate emotionally with the audience, fostering a deeper understanding and commitment to change.

Support for Victim – Led by Lovette Jallow

  • Immediate and Compassionate Assistance: Provided Jeanine with immediate support, including covering household costs, ensuring her children were cared for, and facilitating access to compassionate medical care. The approach prioritized her emotional and physical well-being.
  • Psychological and Emotional Support: Arranged for professional counseling and psychological care for Jeanine and her children to help them heal from the trauma. This support was continuous and tailored to their needs.
  • Building a Supportive Community Network: Established a network of volunteers and community members who offered ongoing assistance, solidarity, and a sense of belonging to victims of racial violence.
  • Personal Support and Advocacy: Believing in community support and knowing the consequences of Swedish diminishment of the very real consequences of racism, Lovette Jallow’s personal involvement rallied true community and grassroots support. Beyond her role as an advocate, Lovette personally attended Jeanine during her pregnancy and childbirth, ensuring she received necessary medical care and support. Lovette, with specific expertise in Swedish healthcare and psychiatry, including patient interaction, knew firsthand about the medical racism Black women face during childbirth in Sweden. She has conducted lectures for various organizations and institutions, such as Karlstad Hospital, Women’s Healthcare within Region Värmland, Göteborg City, the Association for Sweden’s Youth Clinics, Karolinska Institute, RFSU, RFSL, among others. She has been honored for her efforts to promote health equity and equality.

Lovette covered all associated costs, including postnatal care and organized safe childcare for Jeanine’s two children, who were deeply affected by the incident. This support highlighted the importance of treating Black women victims with empathy and dignity.

Despite Jeanine being found to have done nothing wrong and the force used being excessive, leading to early labor and trauma to the birth sac, she received no compensation. However, Jeanine received extensive community support from Action for Humanity, showcasing the organization’s commitment to providing unwavering support without expecting anything in return. Lovette Jallow was later named the baby’s godparent, symbolizing the deep bonds of support and community.

Protecting the Rights and Well-being of Victims

Action for Humanity, under the leadership of Lovette Jallow, prioritizes the protection and well-being of victims of racial violence and discrimination. The case of Jeanine exemplifies our comprehensive approach to safeguarding victims’ rights and ensuring their holistic well-being.

Immediate Protection and Care

  • Emotional and Psychological Support:
    • Crisis Counseling: Provided immediate emotional support to Jeanine and her family through crisis counseling and psychological care, addressing the trauma caused by the incident.
    • Continuous Therapy: Arranged for ongoing therapy sessions for Jeanine and her children, tailored to their specific needs and focused on healing from trauma.
  • Medical Assistance:
    • Emergency Medical Care: Ensured Jeanine received prompt and appropriate medical attention following the assault, including specialized care due to her advanced pregnancy.
    • Postnatal Care: Provided comprehensive postnatal care for Jeanine and her newborn, addressing any complications arising from the trauma.
  • Legal Advocacy and Representation:
    • Legal Support: Secured experienced legal representation for Jeanine to navigate the legal process, ensuring her rights were protected and providing financial assistance to cover legal costs.

Ensuring Long-Term Well-being

  • Household Support:
    • Financial Assistance: Provided financial support to cover Jeanine’s household expenses, ensuring stability and alleviating stress during the recovery period.
    • Childcare Arrangements: Organized safe and nurturing childcare for Jeanine’s two children, allowing her to focus on her health and well-being.
  • Community Integration and Support:
    • Community Network: Established a support network of volunteers and community members to offer ongoing assistance and a sense of belonging to Jeanine and her family.
    • Educational Support for Children: Ensured that Jeanine’s children received necessary educational support and maintained a stable routine, despite the upheaval caused by the incident.
  • Advocacy for Policy Change:
    • Highlighting Systemic Issues: Used Jeanine’s case to spotlight systemic racism and advocate for policy changes that protect victims and prevent similar incidents in the future.
    • Collaborating with Institutions: Worked with educational, healthcare, and governmental institutions to implement anti-racism training and improve responses to racial violence.

Systemic Issues and Advocacy

Jeanine’s case is a powerful example of the pervasive and systemic racism that exists in Sweden. Despite the clear evidence of violence and racial discrimination, Prosecutor Lucas Eriksson cleared the guards of using excessive violence. This decision underscores the deep-rooted issues within the Swedish legal system, where Black Swedes face the highest levels of physical violence but rarely find justice.

Prosecutor Lucas Eriksson’s response to the incident, as reported by The Local, revealed a troubling lack of understanding and empathy. His justification of the guards’ actions illustrates the biases and structural racism inherent in the system:

  • “They print out a fine which she throws on the ground. You need it to continue the journey and the guards then kindly ask her to leave the train.”
  • “There is surveillance footage from inside the train as well and you can see there how she resists. It’s the woman’s behaviour that escalates the situation.”
  • “Sometimes it’s simply not worth it. She had a child with her, I’m sorry for the child.”

These statements fail to acknowledge the severe misconduct of the guards and the systemic racism that Black Swedes face. They/he  also overlook critical points:

  1. Provocation: The dismissal of Jeanine’s actions as provocations fails to consider the possibility that something said or done to her by the guards might have led to her reaction.
  2. Lack of Context: The prosecutor ignored the context of Jeanine’s actions, such as her advanced pregnancy and previous miscarriage, which would naturally cause heightened stress and fear.
  3. Misinterpretation of Actions: By focusing solely on Jeanine’s actions and not the guards’ excessive force, the prosecutor displayed a clear bias, failing to see the situation’s severity despite witness statements. Not to mention the guards being repeat offenders of racist crimes and actions.

One of the guards was later found to be making hateful comments online about “putting down ones foot and shooting the heads off a monkey,” showing that such behavior persists. The other guard would write a book about how hard his life was and profit off this incident making round in altright circles and media in sweden. I hope the prosecutor Lucas Eriksson rethinks his ruling in light of these revelations, because he rewarded that guards racism and violence and he did it again online.

Guard sending racist threats online

Lovette Jallow’s Advocacy

Through her extensive social media presence and community outreach efforts, Lovette Jallow mobilized support and galvanized public opinion, leading to increased scrutiny of the incident and calls for accountability. Her advocacy work shed light on broader issues of racial profiling, excessive use of force, and inadequate training among security personnel.

Lovette Jallow’s tireless efforts brought attention to the injustices faced by Black Swedes and the inadequacies of the Swedish legal system. She consistently highlighted how the system justifies violence against marginalized communities and fails to hold perpetrators accountable. Her work with Action for Humanity focused on providing comprehensive support to victims like Jeanine and advocating for systemic change.

Conclusion and Call to Action

The incident involving Jeanine on the Stockholm metro in February 2019 not only brought to light the pervasive issue of systemic racism in Sweden but also underscored the critical role of advocacy and community support in seeking justice. Lovette Jallow and Action for Humanity’s unwavering commitment to Jeanine’s case exemplifies the power of grassroots activism in effecting change and holding institutions accountable.

Initially, Expressen reported that Jeanine “had fallen and was taken to the hospital,” starting a narrative that muddied the truth. However, video evidence later revealed the reality of her brutal assault. Jeanine was actually on her way to the hospital due to pre-labour pains, worried about her pregnancy after a previous miscarriage. Despite this, she was questioned about why she took public transport, disregarding her socioeconomic status. Even as witnesses stepped forward to correct the narrative, Jeanine faced villainization.

Impact on Lovette Jallow:

Lovette Jallow’s advocacy for Jeanine was met with significant challenges, including threats and intimidation. Despite this, Lovette remained steadfast in her efforts to protect Jeanine and ensure her narrative was not misconstrued. Lovette’s deep understanding of the systemic issues within Swedish society and her strategic approach to advocacy were crucial in maintaining public attention and pushing for accountability.

As Lovette advocated for Jeanine’s rights, the backlash intensified. In Sweden, victims of racism are often dismissed and painted as problematic, using mental health, loudness, anger, color, immigrant status, and trauma against them. Lovette, being both Swedish and Black, understood these tactics intimately and used her knowledge to navigate and counteract them effectively.

Despite attempts to undermine Jeanine’s truth through offers of free transport and gifts, Lovette ensured that every interaction was documented, maintaining transparency and accuracy. When public opinion could not be swayed, and Jeanine’s narrative remained intact, Lovette became a target of threats and intimidation from members of the alt-right, including online abuse and threats to her personal safety should they see her in real life. Despite reporting these threats to the police, no action was taken, highlighting the systemic failures in addressing such issues.

Lovette’s dedication to Jeanine and her family went beyond advocacy. Lovette provided comprehensive support, including accompanying Jeanine to medical checkups from the day the attack occured, ensuring her well-being, and organizing care for her other children. In a testament to the deep bond formed through this ordeal, Jeanine later asked Lovette to be the godparent of her newborn child, symbolizing the profound trust and gratitude shared between them.


Community and Global Impact:

Lovette mobilised support and galvanised public opinion through her extensive social media presence and community outreach efforts. This led to increased scrutiny of the incident and calls for accountability. Her advocacy work shed light on broader issues of racial profiling, excessive use of force, and inadequate training among security personnel. Over 200 global newspapers and magazines covered the incident, raising awareness and prompting discussions on systemic racism.

Following the incident,  Even Tomas Eriksson, the environmental and public transport regional councilor in Stockholm, recognized the impact of advocacy efforts in prompting systemic change and called for government intervention to review security guard training standards.

End Statement from Lovette Jallow – Executive Director, Action for Humanity Sweden

Lovette Jallow Judging

When I started this project, I committed to doing exactly what I promised: to assist and ensure that what usually happens in cases of a pregnant Black woman assaulted on the Stockholm metro did not happen. I utilized my deep understanding and knowledge of Swedish racism, which I have grasped since childhood, to counter it at every turn and protect Jeanine and her children, both born and unborn, from harm.

I always hope for justice, but my hope for some individuals within the justice system is limited. As shown by Prosecutor Lucas Eriksson, Swedish media and CEO’s of the Guard companies amongst others, they are often influenced and led by their biases. Although two guards were suspended and an assault investigation was launched, the institutional system still rewarded their harmful behaviour. This is the reality of the system we live under. Why would they punish anyone when they commit the same crimes daily if not overtly then covertly at best?

At the start of this project, I made one thing clear, and I have been quoted 91 times in global newspapers: “If the baby is harmed, there will be hell to pay.” Secondly, I needed to ensure the mother was cared for due to re-traumatization from her experiences the previous year and earlier, including the loss of her family. She deserved none of this—no human being does, regardless of ethnic background—but we often have to endure more and are seen as deserving of less.Considering my initial promise and that in the end, I cut the baby’s umbilical cord, heard his first cries, took him home, and became his godparent, the guards and the prosecutor can count their lucky stars for now.

Since that day, I have continued my work which is separate to them all and white supremacy in general, delivering nearly 150 lectures in organizations, schools, universities, and hospitals, and leading many more projects. My work is far from done, and I will always be where I am needed.









Written by: Lovette Jallow – Author, Lecturer, Entrepreneur, and Acclaimed Social Activist.

Thank you for reading and exploring diverse perspectives with me. As a Black woman living in Sweden, some of my differences are visible, while others, such as autism and ADHD, remain unseen. Yet, I believe that my perspectives are equally valuable because of these dualities.

All texts are copyrighted.
For further insights and to keep the conversation going, visit my website. https://lovettejallow.com/

Painting depicting Jeanine and her daughter lovingly.