Lend-Lease for Ukraine and the Support of the People: An Interview with a Representative of the Ukrainian Community in the USA

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Lend-Lease for Ukraine and the support of the people: an interview with a representative of the Ukrainian community in the United States

The local community is powerful, despite its relative smallness, says a representative of the Ukrainian community./planetofhotels.com

In this extremely difficult time, the constant support of our state from the United States is an extremely important component of the successful course of the defense war against Russia. Representatives of the Ukrainian public in various American cities are especially interested in such assistance.

How the Ukrainian community in Washington helped Obama cross the Rubicon in support of Ukraine, how many cells of Ukrainian public lobbyists are in the States, what they are doing now, and whether the Ukrainians of America influenced the adoption of the Lend-Lease law – a representative of the Ukrainian community in Washington told in an exclusive interview to Channel 24 website Irina Verity.

Ukrainian way to the USA

Irina, tell us how you got to Washington ?

I have been living here for 25 years. Came here for personal reasons. At the same time, she always remembered her roots. Regardless of where you live, you must, first of all, remain Ukrainian.

Many Ukrainians, since the 1990s, have gone their own way of self-identification. Each and every one of them decided for themselves how exactly they want to represent Ukraine where they live.

I have always felt that my role as a representative of the Ukrainian state here is important. I have always proceeded from such considerations in my public social activity, in the things that I did.

Lend-Lease for Ukraine and the support of the people: an interview with a representative of the Ukrainian community in the United States

Irina does a lot for Ukraine's advocacy in the United States/Photo courtesy speaker

From 2002 to 2006 I was in Ukraine for family reasons. Upon returning to the States, she joined an organization called US-Ukraine Business Counsil, that is, the American-Ukrainian Business Council. It united and unites organizations, businesses, leaders of the business community that invest in Ukraine, work there. working with Ukraine. I worked on improving the Ukrainian image in the United States, and not just in Washington. Such activities helped me to be that active Ukrainian woman that I always considered myself to be.

I also worked for a long time with the “US-Ukraine Foundation” in Washington (US-Ukraine Foundation). The latter has been working in Ukraine since the first years of independence.

In addition, I organized an event on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Ukrainian independence called Ukrainian Washington. At that time, all employees of Congress, the White House, the State Department and other important organizations for Ukraine were present there, which testified to our country's support. Then Ruslana flew to us with her performance.

  • Our state has always had such a bleak image in Washington because its importance has been diminished. Now, as we can see, it has reached its peak.

On the territory of Ukraine, there is now a war for bright values, such as democracy, which I consider extremely important. The existence of human rights and freedoms, independence, the right to exist, the right to exist for a language and culture, a history that would not be reshaped by Russian lies.

We showed the world that we the best fighters for ideals, for which this same world, unfortunately, has forgotten how to fight.

Recently I talked with my friend, who worked in the American judicial system. She says to me: “You know, I watch the news about Ukraine and I have the impression that Ukrainians demonstrate the golden standard of citizenship.” The response in the original language was: “I think, Ukrainians are showing us golden standard of what citizenship means”.

She then added that, in her opinion, Americans have forgotten how to be good citizens.

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Ukrainians in Washington

How many people does the Ukrainian community have in the American capital?

In fact, there are not many Ukrainians here (according to various estimates, the Association of Ukrainians in Washington represents the interests of 55,000 to 100,000 Washingtonians of Ukrainian origin – Channel 24). Much more people in Chicago, Philadelphia and Rochester. Many Ukrainians are also in New York and New Jersey.

The local community is powerful, despite its relative smallness compared to other American cities. We have the opportunity to influence people who decide important issues regarding Ukraine.

How does the socio-political activity of the Ukrainians in Washington influence decision-making in favor of our country?

The Ukrainian Congress Committee operates here and is constantly present in the American political process. They have well-established connections with many representatives of different states, both in the Senate and in Congress.

The committee organizes Ukrainian days, when its representatives from different parts of the country come to Washington to promote Ukrainian interests.

p>One example of the effectiveness of the work of representatives of Ukraine in the American capital was the adoption in 2014 of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act. The initiators were Senators Corker and Menendez. Then, at the request of office representative Steve Stockman, I organized the promotion of this bill through representatives of the Ukrainian community in every US state.

I was assisted by the representative of Texas in Congress, Marcy Kaptur. She is very familiar with Ukrainian issues and takes a clearly pro-Ukrainian position.

In order to support her initiative to defend our interests, we had to properly organize and spread a call across America to the Ukrainians to press their congressmen on the ground about the existence of such a bill. So that the Ukrainian part of the American voters urges their candidates to support this legislative initiative.

American direct democracy is very interesting as such. The more people ask to solve a particular issue, the more real its solution becomes.

Knowing this feature, zest, we created at that time a platform where we explained to people how to register for an appeal, what to say . They gave lists of phones to call.

Lend-Lease for Ukraine and the support of the people: an interview with a representative of the Ukrainian community in the United States

When you call your senator's office, his employees always register this call, says Irina /Photo courtesy of the speaker

They ask for your personal details, whether you are a voter and why the question you asked is important to you personally. If the number of such appeals concerning one issue is large enough, representatives of congressmen in the field understand that it is important. As a result, the issue is submitted directly to Congress for consideration.

What are Ukrainian public lobbyists doing in Congress now?

Since I have already somewhat moved away from active business in public lobbying for Ukrainian interests, I cannot know for sure. I can only say that they continue to monitor the dynamics of resolving issues of interest to our country.

Fortunately, now US officials themselves have realized that we need to help us without unnecessary delay. This understanding contributes to the speed and quality of appropriate decision-making.

Consequently, the Washington and other Ukrainian American communities do not need frequent reminders of the importance of upholding the national interests of our country. However, they are always ready to get together and be active if necessary. We, Ukrainians, know how not only to build barricades on the Maidan, but also to gather when necessary.

Lend-Lease for Ukraine

Ukrainians of America have contributed to making a decision on lend-lease?

I think there were specific people and entire organizations that helped lend-lease for Ukraine to become a reality. I won't say anything more. It's just that I personally did not deal with this issue, so I can not comment on such things.

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