The efforts of Philadelphia’s Ukrainian Community

Ukranian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 830 North Franklin Street, Philadelphia – DavidT8 via Wikimedia Commons

The world is well aware of the Russian-Ukrainian War by now, and while our community has been highly educated on the conflict,many have not learned how our society can help. 

Many students have asked themselves, why should I help the victims of a war that is happening thousands of miles away from me? 

Russian President, Vladimir Putin is notorious for not only wanting to make a statement to the world of Russia’s power but to make that statement loud and clear. Although this war may not directly affect many students right now, in a couple of months—or even a couple of weeks—Russian soldiers could deploy their nuclear weapons in countries across the globe, causing a third world war. 

Ukrainian communities in Philadelphia, such as the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Northeast Philadelphia, have rallied together to show their support for Ukraine and to demand more action on America’s end to help end the war. Their peaceful protests at historic monuments have lasted hours a day. Local Ukrainian churches also extended their hours for community worship to pray for their family and friends who still are living in the warzone of Ukraine. Students do not have to know anyone involved in the war to want to help, because regardless of who they are, they are still people, and since prayer is free, there is no loss in praying for Ukraine. 

“Knowing the history of the Russian-Ukraine conflict is so valuable, since some sources are a Russian- supplied version of history.”

Mr. Patrylak

Church communities have stated that the best way to help this cause is to directly donate to organizations like the United Ukrainian American relief community. This specific community accepts donations of basic everyday necessities such as baby wipes, dry food, and batteries. Although many in our school community use objects such as these without any consideration, citizens of Ukraine have to constantly think to themselves if their dry food will last until spring. This community also accepts cash donations, which they directly use money to buy military and medical resources for the civilians of Ukraine. Even if the donation seems like an insignificant amount, it could make up the small portion of someone’s life being saved. 

Our school has contributed to this cause in numerous events, including a plaid dress-down day where students gave five dollars or more to be donated to Ukraine, as well as accepting donations at school events such as the upper school spring musical. The school has also educated the students and faculty on the history and present conflict of the war in the classroom setting. Students in a recent lunch conversation shared an open-ended discussion of the future of the war and how it could affect them. 

Ukraine under attack on March 3, 2022 – Flickr

Mathematics teacher Mr.Patrylak who has family in the Ukraine says “I’ve had open-ended discussions in the classroom, but I deliberately avoided sharing my views on the conflict in order for the students to form their own opinions.”

While these actions are helping the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, some wonder if there is more than our school can do. Efforts to help Ukraine during times of crisis have been by our local community, but we must continue to fight for Ukrainians not only for them but for the protection of ourselves.

“Knowing the history of the Russian-Ukraine conflict is so valuable, since some sources are a Russian- supplied version of history.” Mr. Patrylak said. 

 It is not acceptable for the school to bring this war to our attention just because it gives off the appearance that the school cares about this issue since it is “on trend,” but rather, it is more important that our school is doing this for the right reasons.