By Megha Khemka, Copy Editor
Over the past few days, the Ukrainian Cultural Center of Chicago has been at the heart of providing support for the Ukrainian community, hosting rallies and supply drives.
As Ukraine’s fierce efforts to repel Russian invaders continue to unfold, civilian communities around the world are rallying in support of the Ukrainian people. Here’s how Payton students can show solidarity to the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian immigrant communities.
Read and Share Reliable News
One of Russian President Vadimir Putin’s most far-reaching and damaging weapons is the systemic spread of disinformation regarding the developing situation. Ukraine does not have powerful international print and television assets. Meanwhile, misleading news proliferates through Russian bots and government-sponsored media sources that are forbidden from using the words “attack,” “invasion,” or “war,” Yet misinformation is often harder to spot than obviously biased or malicious sources, and accidentally sharing incorrect or incomplete information on social media contributes significantly to the issue. If you have read or heard that Russian strikes have solely targeted military targets rather than hospitals and civilians; or that the preceding unrest in Ukraine was due primarily to internal civil conflict rather than Russian aggression; or even that America has sent troops to defend the Ukrainian people – then you have been a victim of misinformation.
This all means that reading and spreading true information and experiences is one of the most powerful steps you can take to support the Ukrainian struggle. Stay on top of updates. Fact-check before posting or resharing on social media. Correct misunderstandings your friends may have. The following are credible sources for anyone looking to engage:
- The Kyiv Independent – a Ukrainian newspaper for an English-language audience, with thorough live coverage of the unfolding crisis
- Read about the true experiences of those living in Ukraine and/or impacted directly by the ongoing crisis at HumansForUkraine, a user-generated campaign to spread the word and stand with Ukraine.
- The Chicago Ukrainian Cultural Center: Located in Ukranian Village, this Chicago institution exists to “serve the local community as a central hub for civic, social, and religious events.”
- Ukrinform – A Ukrainian info agency with a multilingual site
- Liga.net – Another info agency with English-language coverage
- Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) – the official Twitter account of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
- InformNapalm – An investigative initiative dedicated to providing accurate coverage of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
If you want to connect with Ukrainian-American families or Ukrainians around the world, there are a number of Ukrainian-Americans in the Payton community, and Chicago has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the country. The aforementioned Ukrainian Cultural Center is a wonderful resource, and many Ukrainian immigrants around the world are more than willing to talk. One journalist provided his contact information for anyone with questions:
“My name is Victor Tregubov; I’m a former journalist, political activist, and now an officer in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. I also suggest you contact Liubov Tsybulska, the head of the Ukrainian Center of Strategic Communications and Information Security or any other Ukrainian you find trustworthy.”
He can be reached at +38-050-977-2445 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Liubov Tsybulska can be contacted at +38-067-377-0354.
Provide Resources to the Ukrainian Community
The Hromovytsia Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Chicago, a Ukrainian folk dance performance group, is sending supplies to be distributed across Ukraine from neighboring countries. They’re looking for a range of first aid items, non-perishable foods, clothing, and more; a full list can be found below.
The organization is accepting donations from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays. Donations can be dropped off at the Ukrainian Cultural Center of Chicago, at 2247 W. Chicago Ave, and will receive tax credit.
The group will also be accepting monetary donations to buy helmets, armored vests and other military gear for Ukrainian soldiers.
Be Mindful of Language
While spelling and pronunciation details may seem minor, respecting Ukrainian language and culture in your discussions is incredibly important. Ukrainian is the official language of the state, not Russian. “Kyiv” is the official spelling of the Ukrainian capital, pronounced KEE-eve. You may have noticed the spelling “Kiev” or pronunciation KEE-yev used in some places: this reflects the capital’s name in Russian, rather than Ukrainian, and is generally seen as a holdover from the country’s past as part of the Soviet Union.
Engage with the Ukrainian Community and Join Rallies
Find and connect with communities of Ukrainian-Americans – both at Payton and within Chicago. Listen to their stories, give them space to share their experience, and respect their space and privacy if they ask for it. Last week saw multiple protests against the Russian invasion in Chicago, including one in Downtown’s Millenium Park and another at Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukrainian Village.
As The Kyiv Independent stated, “These rallies create essential leverage, making it harder for politicians to ignore Russia’s aggression.”
Donate to Support the Ukrainian Government, Military, or Refugees
- The Ukrainian National Bank has opened a special account for donations from anyone. If possible, try to donate using the international system SWIFT, from which (use Code NBU: NBUA UA UX).
- Come Back Alive (Povernys Zhyvym) and Army SOS are both charities that work to support the Ukrainian military and fighters, providing equipment, software, and a plethora of other vital supplies.
- Voices of Children is a Ukrainian organization dedicated to providing psychological support, through means such as art therapy and counseling services, to children suffering from armed conflict.
- Vostok SOS is providing aid to families attempting to evacuate. Donations to Caritas Ukraine, the UNHCR (US donations are currently being matched by Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds), Catholic Relief Services, and UNICEF Ukraine will contribute significantly to helping resettle and provide for Ukrainian refugees and displaced people.
- CARE’s Ukraine Crisis Fund, Nova Ukraine, the International Medical Corps, the International Committee of the Red Cross in conjunction with the Ukrainian Red Cross, Sunflower of Peace, and Médecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders are all accepting donations to provide emergency health services, humanitarian aid, first-aid supplies, and more to the people of Ukraine.