Lending A Hand

How Houstonians Can Help The People of Ukraine

Five ways to stand in solidarity.

By Shelby Stewart March 2, 2022

Houston muralist Shelbi Nicole painted a mural to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. 

Image: Shelbi Nicole

Today marks day seven of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Eastern European country Ukraine. According to an AP report, Putin’s infiltration began on Feb. 24, and the ongoing upheaval has left hundreds of Ukrainians dead and even more displaced.

The tension between the two countries escalated as Ukraine, independent since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, attempted to strengthen its ties to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the global political and military organization that guarantees the freedom of its members. However, and unfortunately, Putin sees these efforts as a threat to Russia’s security. 

As the invasion continues, Russian tanks inch closer to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. As Ukraine is under duress, residents are finding shelter in underground subway stations, basements or fleeing to the border. According to the International Rescue Committee, 520,000 residents have fled to Moldova, Poland and other nations, where some students are reportedly being turned away. The current invasion has also exacerbated a humanitarian crisis where food and water have become scarce with the country under siege. 

While Ukrainians will bear the brunt of death and destruction, the impact of the war will be felt across the world. 

The Houston Ukrainian community has already begun to speak out against Putin’s regime. Across the city, you’ll find antiwar sentiments, such as murals painted in blue and yellow Downtown, signs above the I-69 freeway that say “Stop Russia” and “Stand With Ukraine,” and the city’s unofficial monument, the “Be Someone” sign, now reads, “No War, Know Peace.”

 

Local politicians have condemned the invasion of Ukraine, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. 

“The city of Houston condemns the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and stands with the people of Ukraine against the ongoing violence. Our global system is built on the principle of the sovereignty of nation-states — a principle violated by Russia that has damaged our entire concept of international peace," Turner wrote in a statement. 

Similarly, Cruz said in a tweet that he is praying for the Ukrainians who are facing this "existential threat." 

On the ground in Houston, dozens of Ukrainian and Russian residents have organized several rallies to protest for peace. Most prominently, the protest was held outside the Russian consulate and at the corner of Westheimer Road and Post Oak Boulevard. 

Katya Kuznetsova, Houston resident, and native of Ukraine, has assisted in organizing protests in Houston and says there’s a lot of work happening behind the scenes to help Ukraine. 

“We hate what’s going on. Our effort is to join together Russians and Ukrainians to create this antiwar community,” Kuznetsova tells Houstonia. 

The community has managed to organize, and there are several ways that Houstonians can show their support for Ukraine. 

Donate to the Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church 

The local Ukrainian church, located in North Houston, has organized a donation drive to help those in need. The church has also provided a list of trusted sources should you choose to donate your money elsewhere, such as providing life-saving equipment for Ukrainian soldiers or helping children affected by the war. 

Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church, 9102 Meadowshire St. More information here. 

Enroll in the Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine

Private citizens around the world who want to help with the crisis in Ukraine can join the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces Legion. In February, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed into law the new assisted force that allows Americans to enlist in the force. Those interested can send an email to [email protected] with a short bio of their prior military experience and a copy of your ID.

More information here. 

Sign Change.org petitions

Petitions are a great way to show support for your passions, as well as getting the attention of the community and policymakers. American petition website Change.org has several petitions in the works condemning the violent invasion and standing with Ukraine. By signing the petitions, you not only stand in solidarity with Ukraine but add to the millions of others who want to see political change. 

Sign the petition here. 

Attend Daily Houston Protests 

Following the large turnout at the past few rallies in Houston, the city’s Ukrainian community started daily rallies Monday through Friday at the corner of Westheimer and Post Oak starting at 5:30 p.m.

Daily rallies, at the corner Westheimer and Post Oak 5:30-7:30 p.m. More information here. 

Contact your local politicians

Local website HTX4Ukraine has also stated that you can show your support for Ukraine by contacting your local politicians such as Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. When you call their offices, you can request financial and humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians, as well as weapons. The website also provides sample verbiage that details what to say on the phone. 

More information here. 

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