Aside from those among us who are Native American, everyone has a story about a relative who traveled to our shores from somewhere else. It may have been a generation or centuries ago, or sometime in between.
It is this shared background that unites us, no matter from where our families hail, and which has us watching in horror as Russian forces try their best to trample a Ukraine that is fighting back with courage and valor.
We can’t help but think of David and Goliath and root, collectively, for young David’s aim to be as faultless today as it was then.
But in the meantime, we can help those who are helping the displaced Ukrainians.
It seems that every time we turn on the news, there are horrifying accounts of some new atrocity visited on Ukraine.
And yet, with each heartbreaking development, we hear stories of people, countries and organizations rising up to help: fathers and grandfathers from other countries taking up arms in solidarity with their Ukrainian brothers and sisters, countries sending military equipment and money, relief agencies partnering with countries bordering Ukraine to help ease the burden of a sudden and overwhelming influx of refugees.
From so far away, it may seem to us like there’s not much we can do except listen to the news until we’re so overwhelmed that we can’t listen to the news any longer.
We’ve all been there.
But there is something we can do. There are a lot of somethings that we can do.
Those of us with immigrant relatives still living can reflect on the stories they told us about why they left and what they found when they came here. Holding those stories close to our hearts will enable us to find solidarity with the people fleeing Ukraine and understand with humility that no matter where they land, whether it’s the U.S. or another country, they will forever feel unfairly displaced. This Ukrainian exodus wasn’t their idea. They didn’t leave their homeland with stars in their eyes and a pocket full of dreams, but with exhaustion and fear etched on their faces and arms laden with all they could carry.
As these images roll across our screens, we may find ourselves feeling hopeless, and wondering what we can do from so very far away.
We can, as the Quakers would say, hold the Ukrainian refugees “in the light”, which basically means we can pray for them, and wish upon them all of the things that God wishes for them, like peace and healing.
And we can, in the meantime, offer more concrete support. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organization that strives to help people impacted by humanitarian crises survive and rebuild their lives, has launched an emergency appeal to provide critical aid, financial, material and psychological, to displaced Ukrainian families. Here’s a link to directly petition the White House to welcome Ukrainian refugees to our shores.
Any one of these things will help our Ukrainian brethren as they fight the good fight to save their homeland and rebuild their lives.