12:00 p.m.: At this time of year, J-1 visa applicants begin to complete their paperwork for their stay in the United States.
The visa program that allows temporary access to the United States for work and travel. Officially called Exchange Visitor Visa, the program is only open to students.
This year, Cape May County’s summer business community fears Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will upset them.
So far, said Vicki, president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, no foreign travel bans have been put in place that would affect the program.
Students from other countries should also avoid personnel issues if the Russia-Ukraine conflict causes them, Clark said, adding that Turkish students would be a large number of early J-1 visa applicants under of the summer-travel work program.
10:00 a.m.: Saint Padre Pio Parish, 4680 Dante Drive in Vineland, will host a Ukraine Peace Rosary Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
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9:45 a.m.: Roman Osadchuk II, 56, of North Wildwood, is a Ukrainian-American. His mother was born in Ukraine, and while his father was born in the United States, his side of the family is also from Ukraine.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one way to look at it,” Osadchuk said of the invasion of his family’s homeland. “Vladimir Putin has been seeking to reclaim the former Soviet Union for 30 years.”
Had NATO not hesitated and allowed Ukraine to join a long time ago, things might have been different, Osadchuk said.
“It probably wouldn’t have happened or it would have forced something to happen sooner,” Osadchuk said. “Putin viewed Ukraine’s independence as a heavy loss for Russia, and a wrong for that matter… It’s terrible, horrible to see a country fighting for independence for six, seven decades for now be vindictively recovered.”
Osadchuk has not yet visited Ukraine, he said, but there are still members of his extended family. However, once his grandparents passed away, closer ties evaporated due to new generations identifying as American and the language barrier, he said.
“We’re a bit far apart, but we still have breakthroughs and a listening ear for what’s happening in the diaspora here in South Jersey,” Osadchuk said.
— Michelle Brunetti Post
‘Everyone is in shock’: Local Ukrainians take action as ‘nightmare’ unfolds
The Philadelphia Investigator
Iryna Mazur may have been among the first in the Philadelphia area to realize Wednesday night that her Ukrainian homeland was minutes away from falling to Russian attack.
She is fluent in not only Ukrainian but also Russian. And as she watched President Vladimir Putin’s speech live on state television – she had been studying it for a long time – she understood exactly what he was saying.
“It was obvious that the attack would take place right after the speech,” she said.
Reports of the Russian bombing quickly dominated the news channels.
Mazur, Ukraine’s honorary consul in Philadelphia, spent the rest of the night on Zoom, speaking to members of the region’s large Ukrainian community and spreading the latest contact updates from inside the city itself. ‘Ukraine.
“All Ukrainians cried,” she said. “We all cried. … Watching those missiles hit kyiv.”
Thursday, the tears dried up.
Mazur was on the freeway, heading to Washington for a late afternoon rally outside the White House and planning a pro-Ukrainian protest in Center City on Friday.
“We’re not panicking,” Mazur said. “We are regrouping.
Where to donate to help Ukraine right now
She and other Ukrainian leaders rallied people to call on their elected officials and President Joe Biden to demand greater support for a beleaguered Ukraine.
Some 5,245 Ukrainian immigrants settled in Philadelphia and surrounding suburban and southern Jersey counties, as did 54,324 people of Ukrainian ancestry.
After weeks of international tension, troop build-ups, threats and diplomacy, the news when it arrived was still shocking – their homeland being invaded, their family members there in danger.
“Everyone is in shock,” said Denis Sichkar, pastor of the First Ukrainian Baptist Church in Northeast Philadelphia, where parishioners see the war unfolding in posts from loved ones overseas.
Most of the church’s 200 parishioners are first-generation immigrants, who arrived after the collapse of the Soviet Union. All have family members in Ukraine.
Sichkar, born in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, said the congregation was focusing on how to help what is expected to be a flood of refugees leaving Ukraine and heading to countries surrounding.
Poland, Romania and Slovakia are preparing to welcome potentially millions of refugees, adding to a global crisis that sees 84 million people – roughly the population of Germany – now forcibly displaced by the persecution, violence or human rights violations.
Ukraine is a nation of approximately 44 million people, a land roughly the size of Texas. Immigrants from the Black Sea state arrived in the Philadelphia area and the United States in separate waves, beginning around 1870.
Poor farmers who had been enslaved by the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires were lured here by the promise of stable, well-paying jobs. About 240,000 settled in the farmlands of the eastern United States and in the anthracite mining towns of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
As many as 250,000 additional Ukrainians arrived in the early 1900s, helping to create the new industrial world through jobs with steel, glass, and rail manufacturers in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Detroit.
Ukrainian immigration came to a halt at the start of World War I, then all but came to a halt after Congress set limits on migrants. At the end of World War II, tens of thousands of displaced Ukrainians came to the United States, where they helped revive and grow local Ukrainian American organizations.
The Soviet Union’s control over Ukraine essentially cut off all new immigration for four decades. It only resumed with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the formal independence of Ukraine in 1991.
On Thursday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia was investigating raising funds to support Ukraine’s 200,000 Jews — including 9,000 Holocaust survivors — given ‘what is no longer just unrest, but clearly a war “said Michael Balaban, president and CEO of the nonprofit organization.
“We are concerned about the safety of everyone in the area, but more specifically – based on our mission – the safety of the Jewish population there,” Balaban said.
On a cold and damp Thursday evening, parishioners made their way in groups of two or three to St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church in Jenkintown, where many recent immigrants came to say a prayer for their homeland. Some could not hold back their tears.
“I woke up and read messages from my sister saying they were attacked,” said Olena Dmytriieva, from Philadelphia.
Most of the parishioners of the church, where the American and Ukrainian flags flutter side by side in front of the main gate, have come to this country in the past 20 years. Many have parents and siblings who are now in danger.
“Worst is the unknown – ‘What happens next? “,” Bishop Andriy Rabiy said.
Ukrainians here were trying to contact family members and friends in Ukraine. They plan to attend Friday’s pro-Ukrainian rally in Philadelphia and, tentatively, a larger national rally in Washington on March 6.
“The worst nightmare is happening. I’m living a nightmare,” said Eugene Luciw, chairman of the local Ukrainian Congress of America Committee. “At the same time, we are united for Ukraine.”
He was at his home in Towamencin Township on Wednesday evening, preparing a presentation on the crisis that he is to deliver to a local aged care home.
Then his phone rang. It was war.
He thought of his wife’s family, aunts and cousins in Lviv. And how, in 2019, the local Ukrainian American Sports Center in Horsham hosted a group of Ukrainian female athletes. He learned Thursday that several were hiding in bomb shelters.
All of the sanctions currently imposed on Russia by the White House and its allies should have been put in place eight years ago, Luciw said, when Putin attacked and annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
Mazur, the local Ukrainian consul, thought the same. His parents and brother still live in Ukraine.
“It’s just an absolutely horrific assault,” she said. “This would never have happened if the world had acted eight years ago. … Whenever we tolerate it, whenever the world communicates with it and negotiates, it takes it as a sign of weakness.”
Editors Max Marin and Marina Affo contributed to this article.
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