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Raising a flag and helping our extended family in Ukraine

Last night we raised the flag for Ukraine (backstory & link to buy one below!) and want to do more. Here are a few ways to help:

  • People In Need is a Czech organization already working on the ground, and channels our donations toward food, hygiene supplies, psychological, legal, and other support. They also partner with other local NGOs to more effectively help refugees on their journey.

  • Save The Children channels donations directly to cash, supplies, and mental health services for children and families. They also have protective services for unaccompanied minors who are fleeing.

  • Direct Relief is an effective distributor of medical supplies requested directly by Ukraine's health ministry.

  • Doctors Without Borders is sending emergency teams and supplies, and training local hospitals to treat the injuries they're now seeing.

  • Amnesty International donations support monitoring and investigation that helps defend people like journalists and human rights defenders who stay in the country and are likely to be targeted.

  • The Kyiv Independent has a GoFundMe to support local free press, to help accurate and independent news there continue.

  • For advice on how to give to other organizations without being caught in scams, check out the Charity Watch website.

And if you'd like a flag too, we bought these at the FlagAndBanner.com showroom in Little Rock, Arkansas. They're #madeinAmerica -- and some are stitched upstairs in Taborian Hall on West 9th Street, home to the historic Dreamland Ballroom.


Taborian Hall was the most expensive building constructed in Little Rock in 1918, in the heart of a thriving Black community. It was a HQ for the Knights and Daughters of Tabor fraternal organization, a place for religious expression and economic progress. The Ballroom was host to joyful entertainment and blues.


Down the road in the Delta, Ground Zero Blues Club is a former cotton grading warehouse that was revitalized by Bill Luckett & Morgan Freeman. It sits alongside the tracks that took Muddy Waters from Clarksdale to Chicago.


We raised the flag onstage here last night, and at Bluesberry yesterday morning as Veteran for Peace Watermelon Slim played Taps for the fallen.

At both venues, the audience sat beneath dozens of flags, hand-carried across the world by blues travelers who made a pilgrimage here. This small town is part of one big international community. Yesterday's Live From Clarksdale shows were joined live by people on 5 continents, and have already reached thousands of people across 30+ countries.

We're all connected:


Before we raised the flag, I shared this photo of my great-grandpa, taken in "Flossamore" on the South Side of Chicago after he immigrated from Ukraine:

Paul Pelc at center, on the South Side of Chicago ("Flossamore," it reads!)


It's dated 1918, the same year Taborian Hall was built. He was one of many Ukrainian immigrants to Pullman, where those railroad tracks later brought Muddy Waters and so many other bluesmen and immigrants from the Delta.


They all left home for heartbreaking reasons... and it's heartbreaking to think of those fleeing Ukraine now.


100yrs after my great-grandpa first fled and these HQs were built, we're more connected than ever. We can now do more than raise a flag and sing the blues.


We can DO something:

We've just given a few dollars to each of the organizations above -- knowing they really will help the people we hold in our hearts.

Click any of the above, or links at SharedExperiencesUSA.com/Ukraine to join us.

xo--

Colleen.


Shared Experiences & Live From Clarksdale founder Colleen Buyers with Ground Zero booking manager Tameal Edwards and Quapaw Canoe Company founder John Ruskey | March 5, 2022