By Council Member Gale Brewer
Our regular Monday events newsletter seems out of place today, a day when the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grande, estimated that there are some 500,000 refugees that have fled Ukraine to date.
While it’s difficult to parse the firehose of news about individual events into an accurate overall picture of the war—Thomas Friedman described it in his column Friday as “…this war has no historical parallel. It is a raw, 18th-century-style land grab by a superpower…”—those human consequences, those refugees, are something we can help with.
[ If you’d like to go deeper than that column, here are four useful links: an invasion explainer at Jewish Currents by David Klion; an 8-minute podcast from NPR’s Planet Money, “How the Ukraine Crisis Could Affect Your Pocketbook”; “How to avoid falling for and spreading misinformation about Ukraine” from the Washington Post (paywalled); and “Another Way to Help Ukrainians: Let Them In” from veteran Journalist James Fallows’ substack newsletter. ]
New York City has the largest concentration of Ukrainians outside of Ukraine in the world. And if nothing else, the COVID pandemic should have taught us how interconnected the world is—a “butterfly effect” writ large (we’ve already seen how global energy prices affect our ConEd bills!). So this is both a local issue and a global one.
I’m grateful to Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who published these possibilities for those interested in helping in her latest newsletter:
- The non-profit Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (headquartered in the East Village) has set up a #SupportUkraine donation page here.
- UNICEF is increasing emergency response efforts throughout Ukraine and is accepting donations here.
- Doctors without Borders, long a stalwart in humanitarian work, outlines its efforts in Ukraine here.
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provides direct cash assistance to those in need and helps provide opportunities for resettlement in the United States.
- CARE’s Ukraine Crisis Fund aims to raise $20 million.
In addition, my staff researched these two worthy efforts:
- The International Rescue Committee is taking donations (87% of all funds they collect goes directly to help those in need, only 8% to administration and 5% to fundraising)
- GlobalGiving (a four-star rated charity from Charity Navigator which has been responding to similar refugee disasters since 2004) has set up a Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.
There’s also a local organization, as I understand it, that Council Member Inna Vernikov pointed me to: the United Ukrainian Relief Committee.
I hope these links help. And let’s light a candle for Ukrainians.