Berlin protests against Ukraine War, by Lewin Bormann, CC BY-SA.
While probably many of us are still struggling with the effects of the ongoing pandemic, the world has been thrown another shocker of a curveball just a week ago: A violent war that is closer in front of our own doorstep than many of us ever expected to witness. The people from Ukraine had to deal with the aggression of the unpleasant neighboring autocrat for such a long time now that we in the West of Europe have already pushed this ongoing conflict into our subconscious. But now it can hardly be ignored and is a brutal wake-up call for the rest of Europe about how fickle the world we believe to live in actually is.
The response from the people of the other European countries has been overwhelmingly positive towards the people of Ukraine. It is touching to see how people have not only massively expressed solidarity and sympathy in countless freedom and peace marches across the continent (also from within Russia), but also how many organized help and support in terms of transport, supply, and accommodation for refugees from Ukraine. It might be a biased impression, but I can only hope the determination and efficiency of the PEOPLE, will also inspire more CORPORATIONS and GOVERNMENTS to follow suit.
While I’m positively surprised by the response of Europeans, I can’t help but feel disappointed how there seems to be a clear distinction between what war-ridden country Europeans feel more sympathetic to and what part ethnicity plays in that. But for this blog post, I would like to stay focused on the positive, if you allow me.
Berlin protests against Ukraine War, photos by Lewin Bormann, CC BY-SA.
The level of activism that I have witnessed among my personal friends and my wider circle here in Berlin has really impressed me. The protest last Sunday was one of the biggest we have ever seen in Berlin. Many of my peers have bent over backward and stopped their own work and projects to help Ukrainians in need offering their homes for shelter, helping them on their way to Berlin, or organizing supplies. I find this very honorable and I’m proud of everyone who shows this level of compassion and dedication at this moment – especially since I know many of us have still not fully recovered from the effects of the pandemic. I would like to offer this space on iHeartBerlin to draw attention to some initiatives that I’ve seen around me. If you have the time, strength, and resources I ask you to support them too.
Help for LGBTQ+ & BIPOC Refugees from Ukraine
Most famously spread by Berlin-based fashion brand GmbH, a group of self-organized creative workers is shuttling and sheltering refugees from Ukraine with a special focus on LGBTQ+ and BIPOC because these marginalized groups have notably run into bigger challenges at the borders of the more conservative neighboring countries of Ukraine. The group is taking care of the transport, but are looking for people who can host individuals or families for 1 or 2 weeks and be around to support them. If you want to support this initiative or get involved you can contact Emilia Margulies on Instagram or via her eMail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wonder what black and people of color have to do with the war in Ukraine and why they need special support in these times you might wanna read up on what is happening to Africans who live in Ukraine at the borders to Poland and Germany and how you can support them here.
The Black-led mutual aid coalition Tubman Network is also mobilizing people to match possible hosts and accommodation with arriving black refugees from Ukraine. Contact email@example.com if you have any leads or want to help.
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Accommodation Network for Ukrainian Refugees
There are several organizations helping to match Ukrainian refugees arriving in Germany and Germans with free space in their apartments and houses to shelter them. One of them is a group effort of several companies called Unterkunft Ukraine that offers a platform with easy forms to find and offer short-term accommodation.
Clubculture United for Ukraine
The reopening of the clubs in Berlin after a second very long pandemic-related lockdown this weekend couldn’t come at a more bizarre time. But Berlin’s club scene is known for its swift activism thanks to its very own lobby the Club Commission who rallied up numerous clubs to join in on the Club Culture United campaign in support of Ukraine. The participating clubs and parties will do various things such as donating parts of their proceeds from the opening weekend to charity organizations or collecting donations with their own fundraiser campaigns. Some clubs and parties that have already joined are Birgit & Bier, Gegen, WHOLE Festival, Void, SO36, Schwuz, Else & Renate, Zur Klappe, Panke, and many more.
Become a Volunteer Helper
If you have some time and energy to spare, even drive a car or could help as a translator? There are several arrival spots in Berlin, for example at the main train station, Ostbahnhof, and the ZOB where daily trains and buses of refugees arrive in need of help. Here is a helpful collection of information for people who want to become supporters.