On February 24th in the early hours Ukraine was invaded by Russia - an act of war not seen on European soil since 1945. Global Philadelphia Association recognizes the impact of the Ukrainian community in Philadelphia and stands in solidarity with the community during this time. We highlight the community organizations in our region and the 8 World Heritage sites designated within Ukraine.
The Ukrainian community in Greater Philadelphia is an important population in our city. It is the second largest Ukrainian community in the United States, after Chicago. Ukrainians, originally known as Ruthenians, began arriving in the Philadelphia area at the end of the 1800s. Like all immigrants, they were not spared considerable hardships in their pursuit of the American dream, struggling to find stable employment. After work, they gathered around their churches, indisputably the centerpiece of their immigrant communities, where they procured much-needed support from their fellow countrymen.
Theirs was a common purpose: to preserve in this new world their cherished customs and traditions. Thus, their societies abounded with schools, choirs, sports teams, bands, dance groups, reading rooms, and church and fraternal organizations. As it turns out, the majority of Eastern European Jews who immigrated to Philadelphia from 1895 through 1910 came from Ukraine. It was a much larger territory at the time than its present borders contain, incorporating parts of Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Russia.
Most of the current Ukrainian church communities in Philadelphia have family members living in Ukraine and are first-generation immigrants. The book "Ukrainians of Greater Philadelphia" documents how each new generation of immigrants added to the kaleidoscope that became the Ukrainian community in and around the City of Brotherly Love.
A 2016 Pew Charitable Trust report put the number of people born in Ukraine and living in Philadelphia at about 6,900 people. The regional estimate is much larger, more than 60,000 people.
Check out this video that goes into greater detail about Ukraine's UNESCO sites and the importance of preserving heritage:
Show support to Philadelphia's Ukrainian population by checking out these resources:
Cultural and Educational Associations:
Helpful Resources for Newcomers:
Philadelphia Department of Public Health: Arriving Ukrainians are required to comply with specific healthcare requirements for vaccination and testing. To find ongoing healthcare services, please visit our city health centers.
Social Security Administration: The Philadelphia Social Security Administration office is located in the Two Penn Center at 1500 John F. Kennedy Boulevard #2000A. Helpful information before going to the SSA office can be found on their website.
Accessing Public Benefits: If you were granted humanitarian parole you may be eligible for public benefits. Learn more about the benefits for Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees. In Philadelphia, you can get assistance applying for public benefits by going to a BenePhilly location. Find your nearest location by checking this website or calling 844 -848-4376. Additional information on immigrant eligibility for public benefits can be found at Community Legal Services Immigration Legal Services.
Immigration Status:The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website can provide helpful information about various immigration statuses and pathways to contact them if you have questions about a pending application or case. They also have a toll-free number 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) and their hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.
Ukrainians paroled into the United States can learn more about Uniting for Ukraine and humanitarian parole from USCIS.
Free or low-cost immigration legal services help: please contact any of these listed organizations for assistance. If they are unable to serve you immediately, leave a message and they will get back to you. Oftentimes, these organizations can also refer you to additional legal services options depending on your needs.
English Language classes In Philadelphia: myPLACE is a resource for adults wanting to learn English or be connected with other education classes. There are ten locations across the City that help adults connect to programs at 35 provider partner agencies, earn high school diplomas, and get ready for the workplace.
For more information and resources, please visit the City of Philadelphia website.
Ukraine is home to seven World Heritage Sites, a World Heritage City and is designated for two areas of cultural heritage. You can learn more about them here.
For further exploration:
Read about Ukraine's World Heritage City of L'viv.
UNESCO: Ukraine's World Heritage Sites - Visit the official UNESCO page to learn about the designation of Ukraine's World Heritage sites.
Check out the misson of international council of monuments and sites in Ukraine which sought to protect and assess the damage of cultural heritage sites.