On Feb. 24, Russia invaded the independent European democracy of Ukraine. This caused a conflict between the two countries, and terror throughout democracies world-wide.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, claimed that his goal for invading Ukraine was to “protect people subjected to bullying and genocide and aim for the demiliarisation and de-Nazification of Ukraine”, according to BBC.
However, there has been no geneocide in Ukraine and it is a thriving democracy. The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish.
Putin has been feeding lies to his country and to the world. His actions have been dangerous, especially to the people of Ukraine.
While Ukraine seems far away and not closely related to Godwin, some Godwin students have close ties to the country.
According to Sarah Modrack, K-12 Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP) Specialist, “there are 11 students currently who have Ukrainian as a home language [at Godwin] and eight who are from Ukraine. We do have some students in the process of enrolling as well.”
Godwin sophomore Mariia Khanina moved to the United States in 2016 from Ukraine.
“I’ve been living here for six years now. Ukraine is a beautiful country with very kind and smart people,” said Khanina.
Khanina has many fond memories of her home country.
“There are too many good memories I associate with Ukraine, but one of them is just me hanging out with my friends in my yard playing cards, laughing, and talking about everything and anything. Just being little kids,” said Khanina.
However, now her thoughts about her home country are filled with fear and anxiety for family members still there.
“The war has affected my family pretty strongly. Everyone has been stressed or on edge lately. [I’m] worrying about my grandparents back in Ukraine when we are here and unable to help,” said Khanina.
Through social media, false information spreads like wildfire. Khanina wants to remind people to check what they are reading and saying online.
“[Before you post], consider that some comments you say about the war are very insensitive and hurt[ful] to the people whose family is in Ukraine. [You can also] just be kinder to the people in the war right now,” said Khanina.
Senior Diana Zagorodna’s parents were born in Ukraine, but moved here years ago.
“I was born here [in the United States], but my dad came to America in 1999 and my mom came in 2004,” said Zagorodna.
To help combat the effects of the war, Zagorodna and her family have donated financially and physically.
“My dad’s company (VMAX LLC) is a donation location for those in need in Ukraine. [Also], my family has created a fundraiser,” said Zagorodna.
While some of Zagorodna’s family is in the United States, she still has an extended family stuck in Ukraine.
“My mom’s sister, her husband, and two kids are in Ukraine. My cousin is pregnant and doesn’t want to leave behind her husband, brother, and father. They cannot leave and are all sticking together, [but] they are safe,” said Zagorodna.
Like Khanina, Zagorodna thinks social media can be a helpful tool.
“[A] way to help is to spread awareness and stay educated [through social media],” said Zagorodna.
Right now, Ukraine needs the help from democracies worldwide. Stay informed, donate if possible, and educate yourselves and others.
The Jewish Student Union (JSU), a religious club at Godwin, hopes to spread the news about the crisis in Ukraine.
Junior Jacob Krieg is vice president of the club and helped come up with the idea to write letters to those in Ukraine right now.
“The Jewish Student Union is going to make cards and letters to send to people in Ukraine fighting for their country. JSU is choosing to talk about the Russian invasion of Ukraine because Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s great grandfather and his three brothers died in the Holocaust, and President Zelenskyy is Jewish,” said Kreig.
JSU will also have other efforts to aid Ukraine.
“We are also going to talk about the situation, and talk about how this relates to the Nazi Invasion of Poland in 1939. [We] will also be making blue and yellow pins to show our support for Ukraine in these trying times,” said Kreig.
To learn more information about JSU and how to join, contact art teacher Dana Morris or president senior Andrew Levin.
“We would be happy to include you in the Jewish Student Union Schoology Group,” said Kreig.