I am so pleased to be able to announce that I am one of the editors, along with my friend and colleague Maria Sonevytsky (UC Berkeley), of the Voices of the Ukrainian Antiracist Community blog. We currently have three posts up. The first is a journey that Natalka Haras takes us on as she learns about settler colonialism in Canada. The second, by Tony Masiuk, explores traumatic legacy of Marxist ideology in Ukrainian communities and our relationship with Black Lives Matter. The third is by my dear friend Summer Fields, who works through her identity as a mixed Black woman and how the shared histories of colonization in Ukrainian and Black communities might lead to the possibilities of healing together.
We conceived of this blog as members of our community began sharing their stories on the social media groups that emerged over the summer from our calls to action and targeted action items. I have been involved with the Ukrainian Antiracist Community from the very beginning, roped in because of my story of being received into the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church due to my involvement in solidarity with the Hong Kong protests. As we watched the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests unfold, we, like many other communities in the world, wanted to work for antiracism and against the anti-Blackness that is pervasive among our people.
For me, this community, which includes my church but is not religious (our theological spectrum as an antiracist community ranges from none to too much), has been where I work out a number of my issues with the model minority myth. While it would be more conventional to do that in an Asian American context — and I do that too — being present within Ukrainian diasporas through my ecclesial commitments for the last four years has for me been an enlightening journey. It’s partly how Halyna Herasym and I started our collaborative project on ‘Catholic talk, social dreaming’ in Hong Kong and Ukraine. I have always been open with how my personal theological practice has been part and parcel of my work — it grounds me in and among the postsecular publics I engage on the Pacific Rim — and I have written extensively online about being in this Kyivan Church when I was a writer, until last year, on Patheos Catholic. I’ve also discussed my church life in INHERITANCE, Patriarchate, the #RacismIsHeresy Project, TANDEM, and Religium, as well as in an article that the journalist Julian Hayda wrote for Sojourners.
If you are part of our community and would like to submit a story, please write to us with an inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org or consider submitting your idea anonymously through this form. Part of antiracist work involves a degree of attentiveness to the limits of the body. Because of that, we are not able to receive submissions through any other channel.
I look forward to working with Maria on this project, and we look forward to posting more stories soon.