Crowdfunding the Resistance
When I am two degrees of separation from unimaginable injustice
I wasn’t prepared, I just did it. I posted on social media that I wanted to know how best to help people in Ukraine and other places affected by war.
Several of my friends and family quickly gave me links to organizations they trust helping refugees, and two of my friends have personal connections to Ukrainians, and they put me in touch directly.
Just like that, from my comfortable perch in snowy Wisconsin, I was messaging with a woman living in France, whose whole network of family and friends are still in Ukraine in cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Luhansk. She told me how she hasn’t slept or eaten much in the last thirteen days because of her anxiety for her people. She told me that the first thing she does every morning is call all of her contacts in Ukraine to find out if they are still alive. I asked her if I could help her family directly. She said “Thanks for asking me that. But you could help Ukraine:” (through this website:)
So I post the website here as a start. And now I am seeing her Facebook posts and reposting.
Another friend has a dear family friend from Ukraine, living in Poland, and he has decided with his brother to quit their jobs and devote themselves full time to humanitarian support for refugees. (email me if you want more information or just send him some money: PayPal — firstname.lastname@example.org Venmo — @peruhn)
Within hours, another friend posted that they had friends in Poland working on the border with an organization helping both Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian refugees. Sorry the website is in Polish, but they do have donation buttons in English on Facebook.
Another friend said that AirBnB was waiving fees and profits around booking in Ukraine. This is getting money immediately to people in Ukraine, many of whom are using their places to house people in need.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused many people to wake up to the horrors of war, specifically white people in the United States and Europe. Many observers have pointed out that it feels racist for white people to suddenly be concerned about war when the victims are white, when we have been through decades of rejections of Black and Brown people fleeing war zones, like from Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and more. Other people claim that people in the United States should look at own history of invading other countries and of taking land from Indigenous people, before getting on our high horses and declaring solidarity with people in Ukraine.
My friend Elsa said:
Donations should be everywhere and ongoing as much as possible in the world. We are told by the media to pay attention to Ukraine — at the cost of ignoring equal crises elsewhere deemed less important b/c of skin color. If you are focused on this area of the world and this conflict, look for organizations helping the African exchange students get home. The normal global whiteness of things are keeping them with far less options or equity.
I think that because white people in the USA and Europe have compassion for and want to help white Ukrainian people, it doesn’t mean they/we don’t/shouldn’t care about other injustices and other victims of war. I am imagining the Russian war on Ukraine might actually activate people of all races to be able to see other people in need.
It might be like how when the blatant disregard of the police for George Floyd’s life was on display in the video of his killing, how that video brought white people’s awareness to so many other injustices in the system and (hopefully) strengthened global anti-racism movements. I know that I personally was blind to so many aspects of systemic racism until I made a deliberate decision to raise my own awareness after the killing of George Floyd. I’m ashamed of this, and ashamed that I haven’t done anything to help resettle Afghan refugees in the past year, even though I know that many are in Wisconsin.
What if we could use our moment of global compassion for the people of Ukraine to spark a global anti-war movement? Or a global refugee support movement? What if our anger at Russia invading Ukraine could translate into anger at the way Palestinians are treated by the state of Israel and the way Indigenous people are treated by the United States and worldwide?
We can and must do better for all people affected by war and injustice. Or better yet we need to elect politicians who stop war in the first place and make the world a just place for all humans. Or better yet we create societies where there are enough renewable energy sources that people will never again have wars for oil.
I write this essay because I think we are collectively at a unique place in human history. The entire world is interconnected and people have instant access to information from people directly affected by an event. This information is sometimes not mediated or filtered and we can easily see things for ourselves. Other times we need to wade through piles of misinformation. The antidote to misinformation is trusted connections. This essay is an invitation for you to reach out to your friends and family to find out who they trust when making a donation of time or money. You might find, like me, that you know people who know people.
Here are more organizations that my social media friends and family recommended:
Alight is based in Minneapolis and has been recently working to resettle Afghan refugees.
Alight: Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief
Providing humanitarian assistance to millions of beneficiaries for over 35 years. We help people rebuild lives of…
Lutheran World Relief is well known for making efficient use of funds and getting the most of your donation to people in need.
Lutheran World Relief
Since 1945, Lutheran World Relief has been at the forefront of effective, transformational global development. We break…
More than one person mentioned World Central Kitchen:
World Central Kitchen
Chefs For Ukraine Chefs For Ukraine Chefs For Madagascar ©2022 World Central Kitchen 501(c)3 nonprofit organization |…
The International Rescue Committee
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive…
Doctors Without Borders
Help save lives. Donate Monthly.
Your 100% tax-deductible gift helps Doctors Without Borders respond quickly to medical humanitarian emergencies…
Dogecoin. Carol Lennox wrote an essay recently referencing how the Ukrainian government has set up a Doge Wallet (I admit I don’t know what that is) and a person can donate directly to them via crypto link.
Donating Crypto to Ukraine: Everything You Need to Know
As Russia began to invade Ukraine, the Ukrainian government asked the world for aid in the form of cryptocurrency…
A friend linked this NY Times Article where the paper of record discusses four worthy organizations:
Opinion | How You Can Help Ukraine
There are many worthy groups asking for donations. Here are four standouts.
If you want to help people helping animals:
UAnimals is creating гуманістичний рух за права тварин / animal rights | Patreon
Тут ви можете підтримати гуманістичний рух і долучитися до спільної боротьби. З 2016 року UAnimals пропагує гуманне…
Here on Medium, Ivan Brovdi recommended the largest fund in Ukraine that supports the army.
Shaun King (who I follow on Facebook) has been helping African students who were in Ukraine get home safely. He urges folks to donate here:
Instagram. A friend recommended this group: