“The destruction and death we’re witnessing each day in Ukraine prompts Americans to ask whether they’re doing enough to help. We saw a similar reaction when Americans—prompted by our veterans—showed up in droves to help their new Afghan neighbors find refuge here.
There’ll be continuing debates about many things beyond the control of individual Americans, such as the extent of U.S. military aid, economic sanctions, and the numbers of Ukrainians and Afghans who can find safety in the U.S. But one thing is clear: Out of the pain of these crises, Americans are mobilizing across politics, faiths, and sectors to help.
First Lady Jill Biden’s visit to Ukraine on Mother’s Day once again brought the horrors and brutality that Ukrainians experience on a daily basis into the spotlight, even as more than 12 million Ukrainians have fled their homes in search of safety. On the heels of an Afghan evacuation that saw nearly 80,000 Afghans seek refuge in the U.S., the Biden-Harris administration announced legal pathways for at least 100,000 Ukrainians to find that safety here. Some will be permanently resettled because of medical conditions, religious persecution, or other discrimination, but most will be granted “humanitarian parole” with sponsorship through a streamlined government program called “Uniting for Ukraine.” They’ll be offered temporary refuge for up to two years with the support of a sponsor. Beneficiaries will have authorization to work in the U.S., but unless and until Congress acts, they won’t have access to some federal benefits. This is a call to action for Americans to welcome and support them—a call we know people are ready to answer.
Our poll with More in Common found that over 90 million Americans are or want to be “welcomers”—people looking for opportunities to help newcomers thrive. America’s civic and service sectors, alongside its business community, are moving quickly to help, showcasing the power of a unified nation.
There are more than 1 million Ukrainian Americans in the U.S., some of whom can sponsor their family members and friends who are seeking temporary refuge here. But Uniting for Ukraine isn’t limited to just family members. Friends, non-government organizations, educational institutions, employers, and everyday Americans can help sponsor people forced to flee Ukraine.
Many Ukrainians seeking refuge in the U.S. still need support to do so. That’s why the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America; top leaders from the Ukrainian Orthodox, Catholic, and Jewish faiths; the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America; Razom; and other institutions with deep networks of Ukrainian Americans have joined theeffort to enlist Americans as sponsors and welcomers for people forced to flee Ukraine.
The private sector is also stepping up in an unprecedented manner to support this effort. Goldman Sachs teamed up with Islamic Relief USA—that have stepped up to help with the Afghan resettlement are now expanding to support Ukrainians in their new communities.to launch a mobilization campaign in partnership with more than 70 organizations and institutions. Their goal is to enlist at least 100,000 Americans to sponsor and welcome 100,000 Ukrainians. The effort will also enable many more Americans to become welcomers by volunteering in their communities, donating airline miles, offering free housing, providing consumer goods, and helping displaced Ukrainians find jobs. Leading service organizations—like the Lions Clubs International, Samaritan’s Purse, Rotary International, and
This comes on the heels of an extraordinary outpouring of support from 35 CEOs and their companies in the formation of theCEO Council, co-led by Accenture and Google. Together, these private sector leaders have mobilized nearly $160 million in resources to help resettle our Afghan allies and to support temporary refuge for people fleeing Ukraine. Companies that compete in the marketplace are joining together to meet this moment.
We constantly hear about a divided America, ripped apart by politics of the extremes, the COVID-19 pandemic, and debates about immigration. Some are alarmed at the declining state of democracy around the world and America’s own lack of defense of it at home.
The people forced to flee Ukraine and our new Afghans neighbors are uniting us. Their struggle for freedom and self-determination is inspiring the world, tapping our better angels, and mobilizing citizens to push their governments toward becoming beacons of hope. In a world that can often feel like it’s spiraling out of control, Americans can light candles in the darkness by supporting our new Ukrainian and Afghan neighbors. In doing this, we can help restore the very soul of our country.”
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