How to Help Ukraine

Pop art photo of sunflowers

Help Ukraine: Proceeds from sales of this print “Technicolor Sunflower Vibrations” by Katheryn Laible (available at the Firefly Artists in Northport) will be directed to CARE.

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.
 
 
Magnet from local school Russian Club
"The Russian Club at school was selling these to help people in Ukraine," my son told me. "I thought you'd appreciate that so I got you one." I do. Thanks.

COVID-19: Sources of Good Information from Reputable Sources

 

There’s a lot of great news coverage out there…and a lot of not-so-helpful, possibly even dangerous stuff going around that’s spreading even faster than the virus.

We are thankful that, while the media industry has been challenged to figure out how to stay in business overall, LI has so far still managed to maintain a fairly robust local media landscape…While a lot of places struggle to keep one decent paper together, we don’t have room here to mention all the smart, caring and conscientious sources LI has for good information about what’s happening and what it means here. We’ll just mention a few that have stood out to us in the last 36 hours:

There are lots of important press conferences going on with local elected leadership. News 12 LI and Newsday have been great resources for that.

Long Island Business News has been doing an excellent job of covering how this impacts the economy from a local standpoint, including offering tips on what employers need to know. The LI Press has been keeping up on more everyday aspects. Meanwhile, Innovate LI has been offering their ever-witty views on the technical side of things.

We have been reminded every morning lately how much we love LI Classic Rock 102.3 WBAB’s local care and down to Earth approach to helping regular folks weather all sorts of storms (and tickled to learn they’re naming a stretch of Deer Park Ave. after JP!).

Huntington NOW has been offering excellent local reporting and resources.

And…BTW…while they remain clear eyed and flexible, the ever Intrepid Fair Media Council is keeping the faith regarding their April 23rd Folio Awards…May they get to honor Carol Silva right on schedule!!!

For the Virus Itself, Where to Go Straight to the Science…

Here are some of the best, most direct sources of reputable information on COVID-19 that we have found:

Northwell Health Coronavirus Digital Resource Center

NYS Department of Health

CDC

National Institute of Health

World Health Organization

Johns Hopkins University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Info out of SUNY Stony Brook

Warning! We have already heard of computer viruses being spread via emails that claim to contain Johns Hopkins information…we suggest it’s best to avoid clicking links and go independently to sources!

Another great local resource for all things science is Science Advocacy of Long Island…we hear they’ll be having good resources up soon, too!

And this…it’s not politics, it’s community service…

Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer has been offering some really good “virtual house calls” in the form of public service announcements that he is particularly qualified to offer.

He’s known as “Doc”, because he also happens to be Chief of Otolaryngology at Huntington Hospital, an Associate Clinical Professor at Stony Brook University Hospital, and the Past President of the Suffolk County Medical Society. In our experience, he generally seems to be committed to public service in the best sense of the word. Exceptionally well rounded, he also happens to be a Baptist Minister.

In this video, Doc gives a good rundown of “Corona Virus: Myths and Scams” covering a range of health-related topics, including what you can do to report price gouging and bad information. He has an calm, kind, straightforward bedside manner, and is offering regular updates and thoughtful analysis.

We are grateful.

Counting Blessings to Help Furloughed Workers and Others Caught Up in the Political Storm

We hold out hope that those elected to the highest offices in our government will somehow navigate away from the broken politics of today toward respectful, intelligent, evidence-based, compassionate, practical, collaborative, solutions-oriented problem solving regarding our immigration system and border security, as well as a vast number of other issues impacting this nation that we share.

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