​​​​I have watched the events unfold in Ukraine over the past few days with horror, anger, disbelief and helplessness. For many of my generation, such naked aggression and warfare by the Russian Federation against the territorial integrity and political sovereignty of Ukraine is outside of our paradigm — these are things for history textbooks and first-person shooter games. But the games are real life, and the history textbooks are being re-written.

What part will I play in this latest chapter of history? What part will the members of the Yale community play? We will not be able to shake the horror, anger and disbelief. But we can shake the helplessness. Here is a list of concrete actions that you can take today (and tomorrow and the next day) to help the people of Ukraine.

First: call, write, email and post on social media to senators and congressmen in your home states (and their equivalents for international students). We at Yale take pride in representing every state of this great nation and many countries of the world. Let us use that privileged position to our advantage. The Ukrainian government has asked us to demand specific things of our leaders:  (1) the enforcement of a no-fly zone over the territory of Ukraine by NATO forces, (2) establishment by NATO forces of a military-humanitarian airlift for Ukrainian soldiers and citizens, similar to the one orchestrated during Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, (3) the removal of all administrative and bureaucratic red tape for the granting of immediate visas to Ukrainian displaced persons fleeing the country, (4) complete and total isolation of the Russian Federation from the international community and (5) additional humanitarian, military and financial aid by our government for the Ukrainian people.

Of course, some of these requests are more realistic than others. If you disagree on any of these points, that is your prerogative. Contact your representatives and demand those with which you do agree.

Second, there are many quality organizations — American, Ukrainian, and International — on the ground in Ukraine and surrounding areas providing aid. The Ukrainian NGO Come Back Alive (Повернись живим) provides armor and medical equipment to the Ukrainian army and accepts donations from any country in the world. Similarly, Ukrainian charities Territory of Kindness (Територія добра) and Children’s Voices (Голоси дітей) provide support for the army and children psychologically affected by war, respectively. When you are fighting against an army that bombs universities, hospitals and playgrounds, such services are sadly necessary.

If you are uncomfortable donating to a charity associated with a foreign military organization, the Ukrainian Red Cross has a humanitarian mission and is working to provide shelters for evacuated and displaced people, as well as clothing, food, medical equipment and other necessities. Samaritan’s Purse is a large, American charity that is currently sending teams to the areas in and around Ukraine that are coping with the developing refugee crisis.

These organizations represent only a small fraction of the available options for you to support the Ukrainian people. Yale Professor Timothy Snyder recently posted a more comprehensive list on his substack. Choose one. Choose many.

Third, and finally, we must come together united, as cliché as it sounds. A divided, bickering America is only used as further propaganda by the Russian government and those who support it. More than perhaps anyone else in the world, Ukrainians continue to believe in a Western-inspired vision of a better, more democratic tomorrow, even as belief in that concept wanes in the West itself, in this country and even on this campus. Right now, Ukrainians fight and die on the streets of Kyiv, Kherson, Sumy, Kharkiv and elsewhere defending that vision.

The word “Ukraine” itself is thought to mean borderland — and indeed that is what the people of Ukraine represent. They sit betwixt one worldview that believes in democracy and human rights, and one that values power and strength above all else. Too often in the modern world, ideas of absolute right and wrong can seem to dissolve dismayingly into shades of darker and lighter gray. Here, however, this is not the case. Here our support can be clear, and it can be tangible.

There is a wonderful Ukrainian saying that goes: моя хата скраю – першим ворога зустрічаю, which translates to mean, “my house lies on the edge — I shall be the first to meet the enemy.” Let us meet that enemy with them, today, in whatever ways we can.

Joseph Doran ’20 currently lives and works in New Haven.