Refugees

so… I easily could skip this notification from the NextDoor, but I didn’t. And once I saw the situation the people are in, I could neither just walk away, nor drop some donations and check it done.

After one week of doing my best to help (with moderate success), I have a couple of statements to make:

  • It is awesome that we have so many organizations that help refugees
  • It’s ridiculous, that the refugees are not informed about them, and that there is no centralized agency which would direct them to the right resources
  • This whole system of affidavits is wrong, and I do not know how to make it right
  • Last week, I mentioned on this blog that I wonder why none of my Ukrainian friends ever told me that “I do not understand their situation,” and at the same time, most of my friends in Russia tell me that I do not understand their sufferings. Now, I want to make a similar statement. Why a refugee, who was a poll watcher, received multiple threats, had her friends arrested, and finally fleed Russia, why she is saying: Ukrainian refugees do not want to talk to us, I totally understand, after everything we did… and at the same time, people who are currently in Russia are saying: why the whole world is against us, just based on nationality.

Also, I am exceptionally thankful to Anna, who jumped in and spent a good part of her weekend her helping; to Igor who jumped in on the first day and helped in many ways, and to my next door neighbors, who donated not the things which they wanted to get rid of, but the items which were really needed.

… And They Have Nothing!

I remember the post on Next Door I saw several months ago. The title of the post was “Refugees are here, and they have NOTHING!” The post described the situation in the Refugee center and how they need funds and lots of household items.

I bookmarked that post with the intention to come back later, to message the author, to ask what is needed most, and theт I didn’t. And I thought to myself that there are too many causes in the world, and I can’t address all of them.

What I saw yesterday, immediately reminded my about that post, because that’s how “have nothing” looks. I do not feel comfortable revealing details, even if I won’t mention any names, but let me say, I haven’t seen such level of desperation for a long time, if ever.

There is propaganda, and then there is this

Today, Russian State Duma changed the penal code to increase penalties for conscripts dodging draft, put in penalties for willingly surrendering to the enemy and reviving Soviet-era penalties against “marauding” (while also adding what would count as extenuating circumstances, which includes participating in the armed conflicts). And there are also supposed to be referenda on joining the Russian Federation in separatist-controlled parts of Donesk and Luhansk oblasti (the self-proclaimed People’s Republics), as well as the Ukrainian territories Russia occupied since the start of the war. The logic seems to be that, if Ukraine continues its advance, they would be attacking Russian territories, which would justify putting the country on war footing and partial mobilization. (As many people, including some pro-war commentators, have pointed out, the Russian Federation simply doesn’t have the infrastructure and the personal for the full-scale, World War II style national mobilization – then again, I can’t entirely rule out the Russian government trying it anyway).

The whole thing is flimsy as hell – but again, so is a lot of the spin coming out of Russian state media.

Continue reading “There is propaganda, and then there is this”

After The Meeting With An Author

Today, the Chicago Public Library hosted a meeting with Toya Wolfe, and my goal was to finish Last Summer on State Street before this event. (by the way, all library copies were taken, including the audiobooks, so I purchased it).

I am glad that I could attend and be a part of the conversation with the author. As someone who actively participates in the work of several volunteering organizations which service underprivileged communities, I was deeply touched by the events described in this book. Way too often, I see similar stories unfolding: no matter how hard we try to help the youth in crisis, in most cases, we can do nothing.

Answering one of the questions from the audience, Toya Wolfe made the following analogy: if you go to the war, you might return alive, or you might die; it’s often the question of chance. But if you go to war malnourished, there are higher chances that you won’t survive, although there is still a chance. In the same way, growing up in an unhealthy environment or in a broken home increases the chances of a youth getting into trouble, but at the same time, there are still chances for a good outcome. After today’s meeting, the book feels a little bit less depressing:).

Igor’s Pictures From The Counter-Protest

Igor has better pictures 🙂 – check them out.

Activists take over the Addams/Dearborn intersection
Protesters blocking Adams/Dearborn intersection
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It was so cool, when the bikers arrived! They made a circle around the block, and then stopped right in front of us, making an additional line of defence. And then they started to roar their engines when the pro-life side was trying to say something!
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The bikers line

The confrontation:

Pro-life activist yells at the pro-choicers
Pro-life activist taunts pro-choice activists
Attaching pro-choice stickers to a pro-life sign
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When pro-life activists started marching, the pro-choice side encircled them so that nobody could tell that that was a pro-life march!

Post Roe/Wade Landscape

Today’s escorting was tiresome. It’s not that there were more antis than usual, and not that they were especially aggressive, but they behaved the way that demonstrated their confidence. One of them (I have a history with him and hate him with a burning passion) gave me an evil smile: how many states are left where abortion is still allowed? They act as if they are masters of the land.
I, together with another escort, guarded the side entrance. There were two antis, but they left soon. Shortly before that, a van with contractors stopped by – they were looking for the manager of the next-door Japanese restaurant. They were shocked by the scene they saw and said that they thought it was some rally, and they didn’t want to believe me when I told them that we have it every Saturday!

Oh, and also these protesters announced that they “love Ukraine!” I am speechless!

There was a counter-protest against the March for Life, which was going to “celebrate” a Roe/Wade overturn. Our goal was to silence the speakers on the opposite side of the street. On the one hand, we dominated. I remember many marches with tons of antis and just a few of us. This time, there were more of us, way more! And we were indeed louder than them. But on the other hand, I almost cried all the time marching because we lost no matter how loud we were. We lost when Roe/Wade was overturned, and it will take years and years to fix it. Meanwhile, people need help right now.

Continue reading “Post Roe/Wade Landscape”

Different Views On Abortion In Illinois

This article was printed shortly after the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe/Wade. I sent it to one of my colleagues to illustrate how complicated the issue is and why many companies are careful about not explicitly condemning this decision. It is not so unanimous even in the Blue State of Illinois.

Not like we didn’t know before.

We will Keep Fighting!

My Apple watch flashed on the news in the middle of the conference, and right in the middle of me trying to figure out all the flight changes. I didn’t blog about it yesterday, because of all the other things going on, but this was the worst news of the day.

I said before that I am sorry to miss these warm summer days in Chicago, but what I really miss now – is not being able to march with others, and not being at the Federal Plaza yesterday. I just saw Igor’s pictures, and I am glad that people turned in instantaneously, but OMG… I did not believe SCOTUS will do it for real! Igor’s pictures below:

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March along Ida B. Wells Drive

Roe/Wade, Abortion Rights, And All Related

When I returned from Europe at the beginning of May and looked around, I realized that the war dominated my life so much that I completely ignored pretty much everything. Not only did I put my life on hold and almost fail several important things, like conferences readiness, but I also ignored what was going on in my country. 

Once again, I can’t change the development with Roe/Wade, but at least I can protest.

At first, it didn’t look like the potential SCOTUS ruling changed the situation around the clinics, but later, things started to get worse. 

There were some very loud (at how to put it? Not so smart) antis who just repeated the exact text over and over and tried to harras the patients (and often – not even patients, doing horrible profiling).

This time, they brought an amplifier, and they first set it up at the corner of Washington and Des Plaines, but in about 30 min, they moved it to the bridge over the expressway, and then it could be heard at the waiting area of the clinic. We called the police, and they actually arrived, but then they did nothing! I still can’t believe it! They didn’t tell antis to turn the volume down! Honestly, they would rather not come at all!

The video below shows how loud they wee, and how police did absolutely nothing!

Also, I finally got contacted by MAC (Midwest Access), because they are getting ready to resume accommodating the out of state patients in private residencies. I told them that I moved, and I should have another home visit next week. I hope I will be able to helo that way, too!