On March 3, 2022, Gallaudet University’s Center for Democracy in Deaf America hosted a panel discussion with Dr. Joseph Murray, Arkady Belozovsky, and Dr. Genie Gertz as the panelists, and Romel Thurman and Dr. Khadijat Rashid moderating. Their discussion brought a new light to the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine. Nearly 300 people watched the discussion online as well as 75 community members and students who attended in person. 

Simply put, the Ukraine crisis has all of our attention but warrants discussion too. Will there be World War III? What’s exactly happening in Ukraine? What are the reasons behind Russia’s actions? Is there racism in Ukraine and how can it be addressed? These are just a few of the questions fielded during the panel discussion. 

To say the panel was difficult is an understatement, as Arkady put it himself. “This is not easy for me to be here,” Arkady shared but he feels the urgency to inform us of what’s happening in Ukraine as well as his own commentary. Arkady has been a refugee advocate for a long time, but this time, it has hit a lot closer to home, as Ukraine was where he was born. He grew up in Kharkiv, which is being attacked by the Russian military. 

Dr. Joseph Murray added that the World Federation of the Deaf is committing all resources to support Deaf Ukrainians as well as giving any necessary support to Ukraine Society of the Deaf. Dr. Genie Gertz gave her relevant background and experiences as a former Soviet Union resident. They explained that many Deaf Ukranians are seeking refuge and some are even giving their lives on the front lines to defend their people. President Cordano said, “We’re all here to not just listen but also get up in the morning and be inspired to act.” Watch the full panel on Youtube

To support people during this crisis, consider donating to Off the Grid Missions, Bridges for Deaf, utog.org, and World Federation of the Deaf.

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