Below is a list of ways we might help people impacted by the war in Ukraine.
The assault by Russia is a heartbreaking atrocity that many somehow thought Europe was now beyond. As we pray for all involved…which really is everybody at the very least due to our intricately woven economies…I hope it also brings us to see people from other war-torn circumstances with more compassion and recognition of our shared humanity.
Fascinating conversations with folks I might think of as “more foreign to me” have underlined this deeply. I am ever grateful to live in such a melting pot where I can look so many different folks in the eye and hear their perspectives. Now that we’re able to gather intimately with strangers again, I realize how very much I’ve missed this, and how deeply valuable it is.
They and others remind me to reflect on how very precious things we may take for granted here are; to recognize that this conflict is at least in some deep way about fundamental values we as a Nation have managed to secularly enshrine: Freedoms of conscience and expression. A right to self determination. The basic human right for civilians to live in peace. The fact that for whatever we may have to criticize about ourselves — and, yes, we do have our fair share! — the very fact that we get to do so as robustly as we will is a valuable privilege too many do not have.
It makes me think about so many things we squabble about at home — and also makes me think about how…while we are far from perfect…our role as a “beacon of light” for so many people the world over has been important. It doesn’t make us as individuals any better than other people, but it does point to some very special things we have managed to achieve and still remain a steward and champion of, if we will take that responsibility.
As our dear Founding Father, an incredible if also very human being, Benjamin Franklin, famously said: We have “a Republic. If you will keep it.”
It makes me wonder: If we don’t continue to champion the inalienable rights and noble ideals this nation was founded upon and that so many have fought to more fully realize, then who will? Who possibly could? It helps me get my own priorities in order, even as I’m not entirely sure how to reconcile my fundamental principles into this on beyond wired new world…
The term “freedom isn’t free” comes to mind from a number of different perspectives as I am struck by how these ideals may be undermined not only by sometimes violent censorship, but also by active disinformation and practical concerns. I am concurrently profoundly moved by how very hard people who really know the value of these rights will fight to maintain them, or determine to assert them anyway, despite even the most pressing of practical concerns.
We are witnessing incredible stories of resilience and determination among the Ukrainians, as well as among people who stand to support them, including from within Russia itself. At the same time, we are also forced to reckon with the fact that there are people — some of whom wield incredible power — that seem to have no regard whatsoever for innocent human lives, let alone our noble ideals. All the while, we are once again getting to fairly directly experience how deeply interconnected we are, how much it costs to dance with the devil, and how exceptionally difficult it can be to know the best course through things, even when guided by the best of intentions…
At the limits of my human capacity to effect change for the better, I pray. For the people of Ukraine. For the people of Russia. For my dear, dear nation and for this whole world we share. May we somehow come through this time better than we were before.
Here is a collection of resources for those who’d like to better understand and to help the people impacted by this war. Grateful thanks to all who live to make things better:
Tips on dealing with difficult news stories
“5 Tips for Dealing with War in Ukraine News Coverage” from the Fair Media council.
“How to talk to your kids about the war in Ukraine (And other tough topics)” from the Long Island Press
Some Analyses of the situation
“Why Has Russia Invaded Ukraine and What Does Putin Want?” from the BBC
The Grid is “a collaborative newsroom of beat reporters, subject editors and data journalists who work together to show how the areas we cover are interconnected.” It’s quite a way to take in the situation.
Insights from the Harvard Kennedy School
NPR and WNYC have been covering disinformation campaigns and their responses in the region for quite some time. It’s a really important topic. Here’s a more general series on Untangling Disinformation from NPR.
Here at home is a a story in Newsday about one Long Island family (subscription required) who has taken in childhood friends from Ukraine.
Ways You Can Help
This a sampling of resources. As always, it is strongly recommended that folks research to make sure that whatever they donate to is a reputable organization that aligns with their values.
The Long Island Community Foundation provides a list of well-vetted organizations to help refugee and humanitarian efforts related to the war.
“Solidarity with Ukraine” from LI Business News (subscription required) reports on a number of local efforts. It also includes links to support an endeavor by Northwell Health in partnership with Doctors Without Borders, as well as funds created by the National Bank of Ukraine, Razom for Ukraine and HIAS in Ukraine
#United for Ukraine: You can find out about this United Way Global effort through the United Way of Long Island and how you can support United Way’s vetted, nonpartisan partners on the ground, including United Way Romania, United Way Hungary and Fundacja Dobrych Inicjatyw (Good Initiatives Foundation) in Poland.”
23 Ways you can help Ukraine right now from TimeOuthere.com
30 Meaningful Ways to Help Ukraine from Global Citizen
A Few Hyper-Local Efforts
Your school, your church, your office, you local watering hole may be doing something. I’d love to hear about it! Here are a few lovely things we’ve noticed:
“Three Places on Long Island to Donate to Aid Ukraine” by LongIsland.com. A Babylon effort, an Islip effort and a Long Islander who was born in Ukraine who is channeling donations
“Artists on East End put work up for auction to raise money for Ukraine” (subscription required) from Newsday. The auction, “Artists for Ukraine” will donate every penny of sales. It’s happening this weekend at “The Church” in Sag Harbor
“East End: Main Prospect making dishes to help Ukrainian people” from News12 Long Island, this is a report on a Southampton restaurant that’s already raised over $10,000 making authentic Ukrainian dishes.
Artisans from the Nest on Main in Northport have come together to offer “The Sunflower Collection.” Proceeds from this collection will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts through World Central Kitchen.
Paws of War in Nesconset
have this on their website: “Since 2014, we have brought over 300 dogs and cats, rescued by our troops serving overseas to safety in the U.S. We have provided 100’s of Veterans with service and support dogs rescued from kill shelters.” Now they have a huge focus on Ukraine.