C/O Yoohyun Park

The McMaster Ukrainian Students’ Association tells us how we can support their community during this time 

In the few weeks since Russia’s initial attack on Ukraine, citizens have been devastated by the effects of war. It’s not only affecting the more than two million forced to flee their home, but also Ukrainian people around the world who worry for their country and families. 

As the number of involved countries rises, including the latest addition of the famously neutral Switzerland joining on Feb. 28 when it declared it would be freezing all its Russian assets, Ukraine remains under attack from the Russian military. 

From Mar. 7 to 9, the Ukrainian Students’ Association held a booth educating students on how McMaster can show support for Ukraine during these times. Along with their in-person outreach, MUSA has also been posting education information online. Jessica Aranyush, a MUSA member and Laryssa Pichocki, the vice-president social for MUSA, helped to collect signatures and provide resources at the booth. 

The main focus of their work was getting students to sign and send letters to members of parliament and members of provincial parliament, calling for both military and humanitarian assistance, encouraging them to attend information sessions and donating to the cause.  

“If you are able to donate, donations are great. We’ve been told monetary [support] is more important right now, just due to there being lots of fights, but even [if you’re not able to donate] just reaching out to any Ukrainian students you know . . . And then don’t always ask students about explaining the whole war to [you] because you know, a lot’s going on. Do your own research,”

Laryssa Pichocki

Pichocki mentioned that it’s also possible to show support at rallies that have been happening around Canada and that MUSA has been posting the dates. The latest student support night at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Hamilton was on Mar. 7. 

“I think [the student support night] was really good for solidarity and just support in general. Even the young people and older people that attended said it was really good to have that solidarity,” said Aranyush. 

While the Ukrainian students find support in each other and the Hamilton Ukrainian Community, it is still difficult to go through school or work knowing what is happening half a world away. 

“I think anyone who’s been affected by war in general, not just Ukrainians, I think your life kind of shifts all of a sudden . . . [For] me directly, my grandparents are still there. Literally everyone except my parents. So, it’s like now I wake up and school’s put on the backburner and instead of that I’m kind of waking up to the news every day,” said Aranyush. 

News coming out of Ukraine has also highlighted how Black immigrants and Ukrainians of colour are having more difficulty leaving Ukraine and are facing mistreatment when they are able to leave. The MUSA shared an educational post in support of Black Ukrainians along with resources for Black, Brown and Slavic Ukrainians.  

The most recent rally shared by MUSA took place on Saturday, Mar. 12. To show support right now, you can educate yourself on the evolving situation through reliable, unbiased news sources and keep up to date on new ways to support the McMaster Ukrainian community by following MUSA online. 

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