Views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from Street Sense vendors and contributors

Please, remember history and stay out of Ukraine

By Aida Peery

It’s very heart-wrenching how Vladimir Putin has launched a preemptive strike against Ukrainian people. However, I agree with President Biden that we shouldn’t impose a no-fly zone, nor should we send American soldiers into a Ukrainian civil war. 

We are all aware that President Volodymyr Zelensky is not a strategic war planner. If he were, Ukrainian residents would have evacuated and sheltered away before Putin could have done all that damage he has done from February up to now. 

President Biden has repeatedly told Zelensky that a no-fly zone could provoke the Russians into a World War III, which could mean starting a nuclear war! Nobody wants that to happen at all! At least, I don’t want a nuclear war to happen.

Now, some folks don’t know American history. They might not remember President John Kennedy sent in a few troops into Vietnam’s civil war, which turned into an outright war, and we lost that war to the communists!

In a video message to the U.S. Congress, Zelensky pleaded with America’s federal government to intervene against the madman Putin.

We just got out of a war in the Middle East that lasted two decades and ended up giving the Taliban back a country we freed from them! President Biden and Congress need to stand firm and only do what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is supposed to do for its allies. Let’s not forget what happened in Vietnam!

Just a suggestion: Ukraine really needs some troops to fight against the Russians. I wouldn’t mind if we sent all the Freedom Convoy truckers and a few warmongers over there. But keep our draft doors closed!

Aida Peery is a vendor program associate with Street Sense Media. 


Why intervening in Ukraine would backfire on the U.S. 

By Wendell Williams

For all you saber rattlers calling out “we’ve got to stop Vladimir Putin” from invading Ukraine, I want to ask, with whose children? 

My friend lost his 19 year old son in Iraq. All these years later after all the “thanks for your service” and flag waving has faded he still wonders: Was it even worth it? If you believe so strongly in stopping Putin, sign up your firstborn and send them off to Eastern Europe. 

Historically, U.S. intervention or the lack thereof has been inconsistent. In 1994, America stood by during the genocide in Rwanda while hundreds of thousands of people were killed. Could it have been about race? African Americans have a saying: “When you say it ain’t about race, it means it is about race.” 

We are watching reports coming out of Ukraine of mistreatment of Black and Brown foreigners seeking to flee. Each day on network news we see babies amid bombings, but almost no coverage is devoted to the mixed race children who are just left to kindness of others.  

Besides, what did we think the Kremlin was going to do? I am 71 and remember U.S. officials losing their minds when the Cubans aligned themselves with the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The fear of Soviet missiles just 90 miles away drove this country crazy. We practiced those same air raid drills that Ukraine’s children now rehearse, getting under desks as if it would make a difference in a nuclear attack. We even blockaded Cuba, and unsuccessfully financed an invasion at the Bay of Pigs.

Now imagine how Russia might feel with NATO forces and missiles at their borders. It’s as if there were Chinese troops in Canada. While I don’t agree with Putin’s actions, I can understand them.

And let there be no doubt — this talk of war could set off a similar spark like the one that started the “war to end all wars.” World War I was supposed to make the world safe for democracy. Please let’s not test that proposition again. 

I agree this is a humanitarian crisis. But I want America to understand that our hawkish attitude toward Russia will only cause more lives to be lost. And for what? Many military strategists have said the Ukrainians can’t defeat the Russians in the end, but we stand on the sidelines, cheering them on to the destruction of their way of life. 

Some revel in the fact that they have stalled the Russian advance. I see a protracted East vs. West proxy war, almost like the Crips vs. the Bloods. In the end, Ukrainians will agree to a peace treaty, but not before their country has been reduced to rubble. There will be no jobs, housing or infrastructure as they once knew it. There will be no winner, only mothers on both sides grieving. If you need some proof of what these “wars” do, look no further than Iraq, Lebanon, Bosnia, and Libya. Think how those countries look now — in the end nobody truly wins.

 I wish someone would share with the Ukrainian President the Civil War story of how Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Ulysses S. Grant, saving lives, realizing that he couldn’t win with fewer than 25,000 men after starting with 135,000. I never thought I’d praise a Confederate General, but Lee felt it was far more important to save his mens’ lives than to fight on in search of an unlikely victory. 

We think Ukrainians have to stand up to the bully, but doing so will leave those who survive with nothing to come home to.

Wendell Williams is a vendor with Street Sense Media. 


How the war in Ukraine can impact the low-income population in D.C. and nationwide

By Kenrick Thomas

While much of America has moved on, nonprofits are still battling the effects of the pandemic. These organizations serve people who are experiencing increased food insecurity and who are struggling to maintain a consistent income. Meanwhile, nonprofits themselves are grappling with problems like running out of food, not having enough staff, and going over budget due to supply chain shortages and a lack of support from the federal government. Now Russia’s war against Ukraine could add significantly more pressure.

During the first five months of the pandemic, 35% of nonprofits saw increased demand for services, and 37% percent decreased their staff due to COVID-19, according to a survey conducted by accounting firm BDO. Overall, 75 percent of nonprofits reported that COVID-19 negatively impacted their organization. The pandemic’s negative effects on direct service nonprofits diminished their abilities to aid the unhoused population and other underserved communities, including in Washington, D.C. 

The war in Ukraine could create new hurdles for the low income population due to the increase in gas prices. In March, gas prices hit their highest in more than a decade in the D.C. area, averaging more than $4 a gallon, according to data from High gas prices can raise the cost of essential goods, which can limit access to those items for people experiencing homelessness and low-income people.

If this continues, and low-income people and families can’t afford gas, how will they access food and other resources? Maybe someone has a doctor’s appointment but has no way to get there. Nonprofit organizations might need to transport food to more people. The federal government needs to assist now before it gets worse. To offset high gas prices, additional funding should be available for the nonprofit organizations helping the low income population. This will help with staffing support and access to food, and also provide cash assistance to clients.

Low income people are often left out whenever the United States faces crises like pandemics and wars. This time the federal government should be proactive to keep them from becoming collateral damage.

Kenrick Thomas is a Maryland-based reader of Street Sense.  

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