UA House hosted a Celebration of the 32nd Anniversary of Ukraine's Independence in Sacramento.
26 August 2023August 25, 2023, Sacramento, California — Thousands gathered at California’s Capitol to celebrate Ukraine’s 32nd Independence Day in Sacramento. The event, organized by Ukrainian American House (UA House) and the Consulate General of Ukraine in San Francisco, brought together Ukrainians and Sacramento community supporters to honor Ukraine’s independence and express their solidarity in the face of ongoing challenges. The celebrations began with the “Ukrainian Community Leaders Forum” where U.S. officials, Ukrainian parliament members, and business and nonprofit leaders discussed how to join together and strengthen support for Ukraine. They collaborated on how to best support Ukraine on its way to freedom. UA House also partnered with the Protez Foundation to launch a fundraiser for the Independence Day celebration which aimed to support injured Ukrainian soldiers with their prosthetics surgery. Notably, Thomas Tighe, CEO of Direct Relief, announced a $500,000 donation to continue supporting the Protez Foundation. Following the leadership forum, the celebration began at the steps of the Capitol where additional speakers addressed the thousands of Ukrainian and Sacramento residents that gathered. Among them was Dmytro Kushneruk, Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco; Major General Matthew P. Beevers, Inspector General; Morgan Williams, President and CEO of the US-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC); Kevin McCarthy, Member of the Legislative Assembly; Halyna Yanchenko, People's Deputy of Ukraine. Remarks from our honorable guests "It’s my honor to mention that yesterday we celebrated 32 years of restoration of our statehood because Ukraine has a thousand-year history. In these 32 years of renewed Ukrainian independence, we built our democracy and protected it from any attempt to violate essential principles. It wasn’t a perfect democracy by any means, but it was ours. Our Ukrainian democracy. So, the Russian attack on us was not just a simple grab of land but this is a violation of world order. And we Ukrainians, we went to fight not just for our land and our national interest but we went to fight for democracy itself. And only thanks to the bravery and courage of Ukrainian soldiers who sacrificed their lives can we stand here today and say with confidence that Ukraine will exist forever. And our soldiers, they are really true heroes who fought for our independence when the Russian army committed numerous war crimes,” said Dmytro Kushneruk, Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco and member of the Advisory Board UA House. "My message tonight is for the people of California and the people of America. It is incredibly important that you remember and realize that this war is not going on for 18 months. It’s gone on for nine long years. Ukrainians absolutely need our support, and we drive an immense value from delivering that support. Another thing it’s important to remember, and American people often forget, is that the government in Moscow is not a government. Mr. Putin’s government, per se, is an organized criminal enterprise masquerading as a government. That invaded the Ukrainian country unjustly and illegally. And that must not stand,” Major General Matthew P. Beavers said. "I want to say that we have over 400 or 500 companies investing in Ukraine. They have been investing for over 30 years. The U.S. business community has created millions of jobs in Ukraine. During the Orange Revolution, the business community did not leave. During the revolution of dictators, the U.S. business community did not leave. And now, when Putin invaded, the US business community is not leaving. The U.S. business community stands with Ukraine. The first thing they did was donate hundreds of millions of dollars for humanitarian purposes. Secondly, they protected the thousands and thousands of employees that they have in Ukraine. They protected their families, and they have done everything to keep their business going. As you know, we need jobs in Ukraine. We need payrolls in Ukraine. And we’re going to have an amazing job to build Ukraine after we throw out Putin,” said Morgan Williams. “When you go home today or tomorrow morning, please write a message or give a call to your representative, senator, and governor. And ask them to provide more military support to Ukraine. Be specific - name the ammunition, like F16s. We really need to move it. And look around. We have so many people in this place, and imagine if each and everyone would go home and write a letter or give a call to politicians in the U.S. And that’s how we can make Victory Day come closer,” Halyna Yanchenko said. Experiencing the impacts of the war through real-life artifacts As part of the evening’s celebration, an exhibition of war photos and artifacts was also displayed across the Capitol street. The exhibit’s creator is Alina Tyulyu, an Ukrainian American who arrived in Ukraine during the first days of the war to help the victims. One day turned into a year, and she spent her time traveling around Ukraine to capture the indomitable spirit of ordinary people who bravely resisted the aggressor by defending their land. In addition, she brought a number of military artifacts which immersed the visitors in the realities of wartime in Ukraine. Everything that was presented at the exhibition was real-life artifacts she collected during her time traveling the country and capturing the impacts of the war. The goal of her exhibit is to show people the realities of the war in Ukraine. Some of the artifacts even smelled like the war or had ashes and tears in it, transporting people to the on-the-ground realities of the conflict. Ukrainian musicians created an authentic vibe A festive concert in the very center of Sacramento provided a unique opportunity for attendees to experience Ukrainian culture through thrilling performances by artists like Eurovision finalist Alyosha, Voice of the Country finalist Vyacheslav Rybikov, and the dynamic Bangladesh Orchestra. Ukrainian heroes share their journey Additionally, the Protez Foundation joined the event and hosted two Ukrainian soldiers who were visiting the U.S. for their prosthetics and rehabilitation treatments. They gave remarks to the audience, sharing their experiences in the military and once again demonstrating their indomitable spirit. Both of the soldiers lost their limbs during military operations, but they received a second chance for a full life through prosthetics, which they received in the United States thanks to the PROTEZ Foundation. That is why UA House, during the event, fundraised to help such soldiers. The funds will be used to cover the costs directly related to the prosthetics of the US military, as well as the various financial needs that arise during the trip, such as visa fees, flights, accommodation, important psychological support, and the important emotional recovery process. "I firmly believe that our unity at this event goes beyond shared ideals and emotions. We are bound together by a desire to demonstrate unwavering support for those who have sacrificed their well-being and personal destinies for the future of Ukraine. This very purpose deeply resonates with me, and I am truly thankful for every individual contribution made toward this meaningful endeavor," - Vlad Skots, Chairman of UA House, said. As always, these events included a moment of prayer dedicated to Ukraine. Local Sacramento church pastors gathered on stage to lead the attendees in prayer. Refugees experience the spirit of their homeland Over the past year and a half, thousands of Ukrainian families came to Sacramento under the Uniting For Ukraine program. All of them were separated from their own homes and culture due to the war. And they continue to experience the distress of being displaced and are often overcome with stress. Three of our partner refugee resettlement agencies joined the event to distribute their resources and connect with refugees who might need support with accessing publicly available funding. But even more so, this celebration of Independence Day was an opportunity for Ukrainian refugees to hear their native language, feel the spirit of their native country, and make new friends with our Sacramento brothers and sisters who have made us all feel so welcomed. Cultural events like these are a critical part of UA House’s mission. We will continue to do our best to host cultural events, educate the public about Ukrainian’s needs during the war and advocate for support. We thank our generous sponsors for helping make this event happy. Your support is critical in providing hope, positivity, and unity during this difficult time.
Sacramento and Sumy Became Sister-cities
30 June 2023Sacramento, California, and Sumy, Ukraine, established sister-city relations and announced their partnership. Ua House, represented by Chairman Vlad Skots, had the privilege to be a part of this historic moment. The sister city agreement that the Sacramento City Council passed unanimously was proudly announced by the Mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg. He handed the Memorandum of Understanding to Dmytro Kushneruk, Consul General of Ukraine. Mayor highlighted that after speaking with Mayor Lysenko, it is evident that a sister-city relationship could help bring humanitarian aid and continue to shine a light on the daily challenges faced by a city in the middle of a war zone. We are happy that many Americans support this initiative to strengthen the relationship between Ukraine and the United States. Despite the Mayor of Sumy, Oleksandr Lysenko was unable to attend in person, he shared a heartfelt video message with the audience. He noted that Sumy City is open to co-work. “Although Ukraine is in a challenging situation, a Sumy city may build a long-term partnership with Sacramento. Broadening our partner’s relationship and strengthening international collaboration is one of our priorities in developing our city. I want to highlight that today’s event is a long-awaited one”- said the Sumy Mayor. UA House chairman Vlad Skots called this event a milestone, highlighting the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation between Ukrainian and US cities. In northeastern Ukraine, Sumy is the capital city of the Sumy Oblast region. It also borders Russia on two sides. Sumy was one of the first cities to be invaded by Russian forces at the start of the conflict in 2022. Going back in time, Mayor Lysenko first spoke with Mayor Steinberg in April 2023 about the tragic loss of life in the region and the severe damage to the Ukrainian infrastructure caused by the Russian invasion. According to a report from The Guardian, Sumy had no professional soldiers when Russia crossed the border and created its defense force to defend the city. Many citizens who initially fought in the self-defense operation have since joined the Ukrainian Army.
UA House hosted the National Multi-Subject Test 2023 for Ukrainian high school grads
15 June 2023Over 60 Ukrainian students who fled the ongoing war in Ukraine have been given a unique opportunity to take the Ukrainian National Multi-Subject Test remotely in Sacramento at the UA House headquarters. NMT is a crucial mandatory exam for Ukrainian high school grads aspiring to enter national universities. Despite being in the USA, their desire to take the test reflects their intention to return home and pursue higher education in Ukrainian. Anyone passing the examination may apply to Universities in Ukraine. Getting an education as a Bachelor's or Master's is crucial in aspiring to their dream job. This exam takes place once a year and follows strict requirements on the location, time, and conditions. Thus the test in Sacramento met all regulations of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and was supervised by them. UA House hosted this event and provided the necessary classes, computers, trained personnel, and a friendly environment. Students start preparation long before the actual date. Many students already know where they want to apply to in the future. It is essential as they must choose one particular subject for applying to a specific university. The test took three hours. Students had Ukrainian language exams, math, and an elective discipline. On the day of the event, many students come with their parents. Then you cannot say who is more worried - a parent or a kid. Students from different states, including Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, came to Sacramento to take the test. As a proverb says, "You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough." Dmytro Kushneruk, Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco, Vlad Skots, Chairman of UA House, and local community leaders met students. They encouraged them to aspire to achieve their dreams no matter what. While students were passing the test, their parents had the opportunity to take the consultation regarding adaptation in the USA. The event was held with the joint effort of partnering organizations, such as the Consulate General of Ukraine in San Francisco, Ukrainian American House, SOL Church, Leleka Foundation, Ukrainian School in Sacramento, New Horizons Hub, and Math Club.
The US Congress has registered a bill that allows Ukrainian parolees to stay in the US.
9 June 2023A bill called the Ukrainian Adjustment Act has been registered in the US Congress, which will allow Ukrainians with "humanitarian parole" to remain in the United States for permanent residency. The registration date is stated as June 7, 2023, and the document is currently being sent to the legal committee of the House of Representatives. The bill aims to "ensure the regulation of the status of Ukrainian citizens and for other purposes," according to its description. If the proposed bill is approved and signed by the president, it will grant Ukrainians who arrived after April 2022 and have had protection in the US since 2014 the opportunity to obtain permanent resident status in the United States. It is worth reminding that in the spring of last year, following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden's administration implemented the "Uniting for Ukraine" (U4U) program, which allowed Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members to reside and work in the United States temporarily. According to official data, over 271,000 Ukrainians entered the United States since February 2022. Over 117,000 were accepted under the "Uniting for Ukraine" program. According to US media citing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the program, over 200,000 Americans acted as sponsors for Ukrainians under the U4U program. Approximately 150,000 Ukrainians arrived in the United States outside the program, including those who received temporary protection, TPS status or crossed the US-Mexico border prior to the program's launch last April. The U4U program has a duration of two years, expiring in April of next year. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) expires in October of this year. If these programs are not extended, many Ukrainians could face deportation. "It is crucial to pass this bill now during President Joe Biden's administration, which has the authority to extend the U4U and TPS deadlines through unilateral executive actions. Otherwise, the lack of legislative status will make refugees vulnerable when another president takes office," noted Vlad Skots, the Chairman of Ukrainian American House. Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur called on her colleagues in Congress to support the new bill so that it can pass in the House of Representatives and the Senate and reach the president's desk for signing. The bill for Ukrainians is modeled after a law that granted similar status to Afghan citizens who supported the US mission in Afghanistan.