In light of the horrifying and deeply troubling invasion of Ukraine by Russia, this week, Ask Trish will help readers understand how they can take action to support Ukraine, both online and offline.
*Trigger Warning: This blog post contains potentially distressing discussion of war and violence – and in particular, the ongoing 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.*
This week on Ask Trish, we’re covering a topic I wish we didn’t have to cover…but one that, in just the last two weeks, has become a heartbreaking reality: the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s likely that many of you have heard about/are closely following the war – it was in the early morning on Thursday, February 24th, that Russia launched its first assault on the country; what’s followed has been brutal war, civilian deaths (including the deaths of children), and over 1 million refugees fleeing Ukraine for fear of being killed. Despite the Russian government’s claims, it’s undisputed that the war is an unjustified, terrible attack on Ukraine and its right to self-govern. And indeed, many Russians themselves oppose and have protested against the war.
For me personally, the situation has left me feeling helpless, lost, deeply frustrated, and sad – and I know I’m not alone. Above all, I’ve been left wondering: what can I do? How can I help Ukraine in its fight? In this post, I’ll briefly share with you all several ways you can take action, both online and offline, to support Ukraine. Before I get into the details, though, I want to note and validate that this issue can be deeply disturbing and difficult for many, so as you engage with this topic, please practice self-care and look after your well-being.
Offline, there are two big actions you can take, the first of which is 1) donating to a number of organizations and groups that are providing everything from psychological care to basic resources to Ukrainians. United Help Ukraine, for instance, helps provide medical aid and humanitarian assistance to those that remain in Ukraine. The organization Voices of Children provides psychosocial support to children that have been affected by conflict. And the globally recognized groups UNICEF, CARE, The Red Cross, and USA for UNHRC (the UN Refugee Agency) are all providing Ukrainians with access to critical resources, like food, water, sanitation, protection, and emergency aid. Even if it’s just a few dollars, whatever you can spare can make a huge difference.
You can also make an impact by checking in with those around you, particularly those that have been affected by the war. Many of the folks around you may originally be from Ukraine, have family in Ukraine, or have some other connection/tie to the country. And even if they don’t, this has been a heartbreaking experience for many, particularly those that have been exposed to the horrors of the war. Just taking a half-hour out of your day to call your friend or co-worker and remind them that 1) you’re there for them, and 2) you’ll do anything you can to help can be powerful. Now, more than ever, we need your empathy, your kindness, and your compassion.
And what about the digital world? We absolutely need your help there too. Unfortunately, Russian disinformation has been rampant, despite efforts by platforms to restrict these narratives. As Upstanders for a kind, misinformation-free Internet, we can do our part by being extremely intentional about the information we engage with and share online. Before you share an article about the conflict, read it! Be sure you’re only engaging with content from reliable news sources. And be prepared to politely correct family members or friends that are engaging with the wrong content – there’s no need to make it a fight; instead, share resources with them that they can use to educate themselves about the conflict. Finally, once again, as you engage with content online, be wary that a lot of it might be graphic, violent, and disturbing, so ensure you’re caring for yourself and prioritizing your well-being.
Thank you all so much for reading this post. To anyone who has been affected by the war in Ukraine, know that our collective Ask Trish community is sending you love, strength, and our prayers that this unjustified, heartbreaking conflict soon comes to an end. And for those of you following along, know how important and impactful your engagement is – and take this as a sign to take action in support of Ukraine.
Next week, we’ll return to Internet-focused topics, even as Ukraine remains at the top of our minds and center of our hearts. If there’s a question or thought about the digital world on your mind, go ahead and share a note here, and your topic just might be the focus of an upcoming TikTok/blog post. Remember, any topic and perspective is welcome – whatever is on your mind, I want to hear from you.
Until next week,