Ukrainian community in Omaha gathers to discuss refugee resettlement

In a grassroots effort, parishioners of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption met with Douglas County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh at Howlin’ Hounds Cafe on Thursday. The group discussed what the potential resettlement of Ukrainian refugees to Omaha might look like. Nataliya Lys wears yellow and blue ribbons in her hair to show her solidarity with her native country, Ukraine. “I just felt like I had to do something,” Lys said. Lys immigrated to the United States 18 years ago, but her family is currently in the western part of Ukraine. She says they are far from the chaos of war, but she still fears for their safety. “So it’s very difficult and very disturbing,” Lys said. “Although there are no active fights there at the moment, the siren goes off several times a day. And I can’t even imagine. You have to run and hide. You catch the children, because you don’t know. can come from the sky and kill you.” Lys said she was delighted to hear the United States commit to accepting 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. “We hope some of our friends and family can come,” Lys said. Cavanaugh said he and other community leaders will welcome the refugees with open arms, providing them with food, clothing, shelter and any medical help they may need. He said he plans to speak with refugee resettlement groups and the Immigrant Legal Center to ensure the process goes smoothly. “We just want to make sure we’ve made the preliminary preparations to help them get here,” Cavanaugh said. “We are ready.” A Ukrainian refugee himself, Taras Serednytsky said it was easy to acclimatize to life in Nebraska in 1991. “We got tremendous help from the community,” Serednytsky said. left in kyiv. He said that although his own parents were able to cross the border into Poland, those who manage to make it are still in limbo. “You can imagine all these people have lost everything and have nowhere to go,” Serednytsky said. Now Serednytsky turns to Omaha and religious groups to give back and help his friends and family trying to escape. “We will be willing and able to accept them and help them as much as possible as a community,” Serednytsky said.

In a grassroots effort, parishioners of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption met with Douglas County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh at Howlin’ Hounds Cafe on Thursday. The group discussed what the potential resettlement of Ukrainian refugees to Omaha might look like.

Nataliya Lys wears yellow and blue ribbons in her hair to show her solidarity with her native country, Ukraine.

“I just felt like I had to do something,” Lys said.

Lys immigrated to the United States 18 years ago, but her family is currently in the western part of Ukraine. She says they are far from the chaos of war, but she still fears for their safety.

“So it’s very difficult and very disturbing,” Lys said. “Although there are no active fights there at the moment, the siren goes off several times a day. And I can’t even imagine. You have to run and hide. You catch the children, because you don’t know. can come from the sky and just kill you.”

Lys said she was delighted to hear the United States commit to accepting 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.

“We hope some of our friends and family can come,” Lys said.

Cavanaugh said he and other community leaders would welcome the refugees with open arms, providing them with food, clothing, shelter and any medical help they might need. He said he plans to speak with refugee resettlement groups and the Immigrant Legal Center to make sure the process goes smoothly.

“We just want to make sure we’ve made the preliminary preparations to help them get here,” Cavanaugh said. “We are ready.”

A Ukrainian refugee himself, Taras Serednytsky said it was easy to acclimate to life in Nebraska in 1991.

“We’ve had tremendous help from the community,” Serednytsky said.

Serednytsky said he was worried about his wife’s parents and others who remained in kyiv. He said that while his own parents were able to cross the Polish border, those who manage to get out are still in limbo.

“You can imagine all these people have lost everything and have nowhere to go,” Serednytsky said.

Now Serednytsky turns to Omaha and religious groups to give back and help his friends and family trying to escape.

“We will be willing and able to accept them and help them as much as possible as a community,” Serednytsky said.

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