The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
UUSC Supports Ukraine
The Challenge We Face
On February 24, 2022, the Russian military invaded Ukraine in the largest military act of aggression against a European nation since WWII. Thousands are dead and more than 10 million people are displaced due to the violence and destruction.
First responders from around the world have mobilized to provide aid to the people of Ukraine by way of food, supplies, and medical care. As with any major crisis, we are witnessing compounding forms of oppression inflicted upon communities that are already confronting injustice. These communities include:
- LGBTQI+ people;
- Black people and other people of color;
- People with disabilities;
- People without permanent housing;
- Older adults;
- People experiencing material poverty; and
- Other populations facing inequality.
We can expect to see even more discrimination and oppression as more people are victimized by violence and displacement.
For example, in the weeks after the invasion, Black Ukrainians experienced shocking forms of racial discrimination while attempting to cross the Ukrainian border into other nations, including being “ranked” below White Ukrainians or being charged special fees to access transportation out of the country. Neighboring nations have been complicit in racist acts as well. Both Poland and Hungary have, for example, shown much more compassion towards White Ukrainian refugees than they have towards refugees fleeing from Africa or the Middle East.
How We Respond
UUSC is firmly committed to supporting communities already facing oppression as they flee from Ukraine. The institution has committed to:
- Partnership—Building trusting relationships with grassroots organizations supporting communities facing injustice
- Welcoming Communities—Preparing and mobilizing congregations in the United States to sponsor asylum-seekers and refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine
- Collaboration—Working with fellow funders to pool resources for grassroots groups organizing for positive change in Ukraine in the medium and long terms
- Changing the Narrative—Challenging and dismantling disinformation and misinformation about asylum-seekers and refugees and reframing the narrative around displacement and its impacts
- Providing Resources—Connecting asylum-seekers and refugees with legal representation to navigate the immigration process, whether in the nations surrounding the Ukraine or in the United States
You can have an impact on this work. There are so many ways to get involved and every contribution has an equal impact. Here are some ways you can get involved:
- Donate—Donate to UUSC’s Emergency Response Fund. Donations will be directed to current and future partners in the region and strengthen their ongoing work of supporting and advocating for communities. UUSC goes “beyond the grant dollar,” meaning that our relationships are about more than just providing financial support. We supplement our support with:
- Research (providing empirical data to back up advocacy and activism);
- Communications (developing and disseminating truthful and justice-oriented narratives about the communities we support and our shared vision for the world);
- Advocacy (Educating, organizing and mobilizing UUSC’s core constituents and congregations into action through a range of activities, from congressional visits, civil disobedience and digital advocacy to letter writing campaigns and petitions); our actions always align with the goals of our partners and the communities they serve; and
- Justice Education (Ensuring that UUSC’s constituents and congregations are educated on the issues facing the communities our partners serve and operationalizing that education into concrete actions such as delegations, service learning activities, and volunteer opportunities with frontline partners).
- Provide Sanctuary—Learn more about the Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum Seekers (CAPAS). This project is a great opportunity for your congregation to provide a safe, welcoming, and healthy environment for people exercising their right to migrate, whether from Ukraine or any other nation. Watch a video on how your congregation can become a sanctuary congregation.
Photo Credit: iStock—Serhii Ivashchuk