I have lived in America three times as long as I lived in Ukraine. I am an American citizen. I graduated from an American college. And yet, if you were to ask me who I am, I would tell you I am Ukrainian.

I was born in a city in Western Ukraine called Ternopil. I come from a long line of Ukrainian patriots. You could say loving my homeland loudly and proudly runs in my blood. So, when that beautiful country is under attack, when the people I love most are sleeping in basements to hide from bombs, when the people I love most are enlisting in the Ukrainian army, I cannot sit by quietly and only send my “thoughts and prayers.”

I was raised to be pro-Ukraine. That inherently means pro-freedom, pro-democracy, and anti-Putin. I urge all American citizens, and the citizens of the world, to be pro-Ukraine with me today.

You can be pro-Ukraine by donating to humanitarian aid organizations. You can be pro-Ukraine by making sure you are only sharing factual information about the war in Ukraine across personal and social networks. You can be pro-Ukraine by educating yourself about the history Ukraine, and its long fight against Russia and the USSR.

If you do anything though, I urge you to look up the contact information of your congressmen and congresswomen, your senators, and your governor and demand that they hold President Biden’s Administration accountable to the assurances that the United States gave Ukraine 28 years ago in the Budapest Memorandum.

Ukraine used to have the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal. They gave it up in exchange for security assurances by the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia. Russia has been breaking those promises since 2014.

Today, Russia is hitting Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian hospitals, Ukrainian kindergartens, and the homes of Ukrainian civilians with indiscriminating and destructive missiles. Reach out to your representatives and ask that they too stay pro-Ukraine, and ensure that NATO maintains a No Fly Zone over Ukraine.

We must stand with Ukraine as Ukraine stands for democracy. Слава Україні. 🇺🇦 Glory to Ukraine. Glory to its heroes. 🇺🇸 God Bless the United States of America.

Ukrainians have put together a list of organizations where the Milwaukee public can donate to help people affected by the crisis. Those organizations include:

1. Medical Supplies and Humanitarian Aid

  • Nova Ukraine, is a Ukraine-based nonprofit that provides citizens with everything from baby food and hygiene products, to clothes and household supplies.
  • People in Need is providing humanitarian aid to over 200,000 people on the ground. For those most in need, they provide food packages, emergency shelter, safe access to drinking water, hygiene items, and coal for heating.
  • International Medical Corps is on the front lines and prepared to help citizens with emergency health care services, as well as mental health and psychosocial support, with an additional focus related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CARE International is responding to the crisis by providing Ukrainians in need with food, hygeine kits, psychosocial support services, access to water, and access to cash.

2. Helping Children Affected by War

  • UNICEF Ukraine is repairing schools damaged by the bombings and providing an emergency response to children affected by the conflict.
  • Voices of Children is a charitable foundation that focuses on addressing the psychological effect of armed conflict on children.
  • Sunflower of Peace is a nonprofit organization raising money to prepare first aid medical tactical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the front lines.

3. Supporting Journalism

  • Kyiv Independent is a Ukrainian English-language media outlet that describes itself as “created by journalists who were fired from the Kyiv Post for defending editorial independence.”
  • Ukraine World is an independent English-language multimedia project that emerged from a volunteer initiative helping international journalists during the 2014 “Revolution of Dignity.”

Solomiya Kavyuk

Lee Matz

Milwaukee has a small but thriving Ukrainian American community, and Irpin is a sister city. Follow the special coverage by Milwaukee Independent for updates on the Russian invasion, and about how the fight by Ukraine's people to preserve their democracy is having an impact on the families and businesses here in Milwaukee. mkeind.com/ukraine