“Courage is the most important of all the virtues,” Maya Angelou would often say to me, “because without it no other virtue can be practiced consistently.” The courage of the Ukrainian people has lit a fire within people all over the world—count me among them. United as one to resist subjugation by Russia through any means necessary, their living, breathing example stands as a profound wake-up call to all of us: We must not take our democracy for granted.
As I write this, rockets batter Ukraine and convoys of Russian troops stand ready to move into its largest cities. We watch as ordinary Ukrainians—women and men of all ages—take up arms, in many cases for the first time ever, to defend against tens of thousands of trained Russian soldiers. We watch as they make unimaginably difficult decisions to stay and fight, or to leave—often without husbands, brothers, and fathers—to save their families from the violence spreading all around them. Those who have fled—well over 600,000 of them so far—are as valiant as those who remain, as they are reaching into the unknown, becoming refugees in order not to submit to Russian domination. They don’t know if they’ll ever be reunited with their loved ones, or when or if they can return.
If you would like to support the Ukrainian people during this crisis, donate to the following organizations: