Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding
“Ukrainian-American Community Has Deep Roots in Ohio“
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9), Shontel Brown (D-OH-11), and Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3) sent a letter to the U.S. Departments of State, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, notifying them of Ohio’s readiness to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Vladimir Putin’s brutal attack on their country.
“We write in support of the Administration’s recent announcement to welcome to the United States as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian aggression and provide additional funding towards humanitarian assistance to people affected by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. We stand ready to work with you and Governor DeWine to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Ohio, which is already home to a large community of Ukrainian-Americans,” wrote the lawmakers.
In the recently passed government spending package, the lawmakers helped secure more than $4 billion to address the dire humanitarian needs of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Ukraine or have been displaced within Ukraine.
- $2.65 billion through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s International Disaster Assistance program to provide emergency food assistance, health care, and other urgent support.
- $1.4 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance to support refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Full copy of the letter:
Dear Secretary Blinken, Secretary Mayorkas, Secretary Becerra, and Director Jaddou:
We write in support of the Administration’s recent announcement to welcome to the United States as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian aggression and provide additional funding towards humanitarian assistance to people affected by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. We stand ready to work with you and Governor DeWine to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Ohio, which is already home to a large community of Ukrainian-Americans.
As evidenced by the state’s recent efforts to welcome more than 1,000 refugees who fled from Afghanistan in 2021, Ohio has a long history of welcoming people fleeing war, famine, and genocide. In addition, Ohio’s Ukrainian community has deep roots dating back to the 1880s, when many Ukrainians began settling in the greater Cleveland area seeking better economic opportunities. Subsequent waves of migration caused by World War I, World War II, and Soviet rule saw more Ukrainians come to Northeast Ohio, this time seeking freedom and opportunity. In fact, Northeast Ohio is home to one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the country, home to approximately 50,000 Ohioans with Ukrainian ancestry.
These roots have remained strong as local Ukrainian-Americans have taken leadership positions in religious, political, and community organizations. From organizing labor unions within their community, to helping to raise funds to open the first Ukrainian Embassy, Ukrainian-Americans in Northeast Ohio take an active role in ensuring the entire region can flourish. Several Cleveland-area Ukrainian community representatives were recognized by Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton for their efforts in support of the first Ukrainian Embassy. This history makes Ohio well suited to welcome some of the 100,000 refugees fleeing combat zones, and will help increase opportunities for successful family reunification.
Ohio is already preparing to welcome people affected by the war with housing, jobs, and a convivial community. Since the start of the conflict, Ohio has been a leader uniting Ohio’s refugee and resettlement organizations to better assist Ukrainians and prepare the region to welcome refugees. Ohio has worked together with nonprofits like Global Cleveland and US Together to collect medical supplies to send to Ukraine while connecting Ukrainians with medical help and safe passage out of Ukraine, and connecting families separated by Vladimir Putin’s illegal war. Other local partners have also contributed to the cause, with the Cleveland Clinic organizing and shipping medical supplies to Ukraine so doctors can treat their wounded.
We thank you for your efforts to help the people of Ukraine, including the more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance for those affected by Russia’s unprovoked war. This aid will have a direct impact on the people of Ukraine and our European allies that have accepted those seeking refuge. Unfortunately, there is not yet an end in sight to this horrific war and we urge you to be ready to offer more humanitarian assistance – including a willingness to accept additional refugees – as this conflict continues.
Ohioans are generous people and are willing to aid the people of Ukraine. We encourage you to think of Ohio as you work on resettling Ukrainians and others displaced by this tragic war of Russia’s choosing, we stand ready to assist in your efforts to reunite families and welcome Ukrainian refugees to Ohio.
Thank you for your continued dedication to this critical priority.
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