Locals take action to help Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is still an ongoing conflict and has impacted people from around the world. Even in Humboldt County there are people who have connections in Ukraine. Local residents wonder how their loved ones are doing since communications have been cut since the second week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There are also other residents who are doing what they can to help the people of Ukraine.

Artists for Ukraine
Lynn Niekrasz, board member of the Redwood Art Association and artist, has been running a project called “Artists for Ukraine.” The project auctions artwork done by artists locally and abroad to help relief efforts for Ukraine. The project began on March 15 and has since sold more than 10 works of art and as of now has exceeded its $5000 donation goal.

“I saw a lot of posts from my group of artist friends on Facebook of sunflowers and wishing best for Ukraine and praying for Ukraine,” said Niekrasz. “I just wanted to figure out a way to turn that art into donations for Ukrainian refugee relief.” The artwork around the gallery varies in styles including oil paintings, photographs, pastels, and more. Most of them include Ukraine’s national flower the sunflower which is also a flower of peace

“My hope is that other artists anywhere in the world could do this, they really could,” Niekrasz said. “They just have to. I have figured out the four easy steps and I can help them if they wanted to.”

Susan Parson is a librarian at the City of Arcata Library whose ties to Ukraine began with her study abroad program in the United Socialist Soviet Republic during the 1980s. Since the Russian invasion began her friends and family members in Chernihiv, Ukraine have been living in bomb shelters.
“My dear friends have their mothers, their brothers, nieces, and nephews, living in Chernihiv right now in basements,” Parson said.
Parson’s last time communicating with her family was on March 9.

“That has to do with the cutting off of Facebook, messenger, texting, and phones and they went silent,” said Parson. “But the word did reach my friend that my mother-in-law had died of the shelling.”

Chernihiv has been a battleground since the beginning of the conflict. Russian forces have been unable to capture the city. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has called the city ‘heroic’ for fighting off Russian soldiers and not being taken over by them. Chernihiv is an example of Ukraine’s
resistance to Russian forces.
“Ukraine has through extraordinary odds have chosen democracy time and again,” Parson said. “What we see unfolding is Russia’s refusal to honor Ukraine’s right of self-determination.”

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