By-laws were the big news at the Ukrainian National Association in 2020. The amended UNA Charter and By-Laws were designed to modernize the UNA in terms of corporate structure, yet retain the organization’s traditional representative form of government through its quadrennial conventions. The UNA Home Office mailed a voting package – containing proposed changes to the UNA By-Laws and a ballot – to all delegates to the last UNA Convention, held in May 2018, and to current members of the UNA General Assembly. The ballot was to be returned via mail by January 21. Delegates and General Assembly members were asked to vote yea or nay on proposed changes to the By-Laws, a draft of which had been presented to delegates at the UNA’s 2018 Convention.
This section features the noteworthy events and people of 2020 that defy easy classification (or could fit under more than one of our Year in Review categories). • The Ukrainian National Foundation, the charitable arm of the Ukrainian National Association and the owner of Soyuzivka, received a donation of $70,000 from the Robert W. Johnson IV Charitable Trust. The Johnson family requested that the money be earmarked for something specific to benefit future campers; Soyuzivka management planned to renovate the Sich building, which houses summer campers and staff. News of the donation was reported in The Ukrainian Weekly’s February 9 issue. • The Antares medium-class rocket, partly designed by the Pivdenne Design Bureau and made by Pivdenmash in Ukraine’s Dnipro regions, launched successfully from a NASA flight facility in Virginia on February 15.
During 2020 our community mourned the passing of many of its prominent members: artists, church leaders, soldiers and community activists. Among them were the following, listed in order of their passing. Information is compiled from news obituaries and death announcements published in The Ukrainian Weekly. Helen Woskob, 89, State College, Pa.; business partner with her husband Alex in AW & Sons, which became a leader in providing high-quality student housing for Penn State students; made numerous contributions to support Ukrainian culture through the establishment of the Bahriany Foundation, which she chaired for 10 years; contributed to various Ukrainian democracy-oriented and church organizations; at Penn State, established the Woskob Family Endowment in Ukrainian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and helped to establish The New Century Fund in the College of Agricultural Sciences – January 6. Iwanna Hankewycz, 86, Yonkers, N.Y.; held many leadership positions in Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization on both the national and world levels, longtime Plast scoutmaster; member of Plast’s Pershi Stezhi sorority – February 17.
Home office took on a whole new meaning this year for the editorial and production staff of The Ukrainian Weekly. Whereas before COVID-19 we worked out of the UNA Home Office in Parsippany, N.J., during the pandemic we began working out of our own home offices. As this issue is prepared to go to press, we are in week No. 46 of working remotely. Working from home also complicated the transition in December between editors-in-chief, as Roma Hadzewycz retired and Andrew Nynka took over.
When the coronavirus struck in March, the sports world was thrown upside down. For many, many months it was the year that wasn’t. The 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed for one year. Some international sports competitions were canceled, others pushed back. Professional sports leagues saw their seasons put on hold for months. Eventually, after months of careful strategizing around and against a deadly pandemic, sports returned, albeit in most unique circumstances. Abbreviated seasons played out, tournaments played on, competitions resumed, some scheduled events in the latter half of the year were held, champions were crowned, and medals were distributed to victorious individuals and teams, mostly without spectators and fans.
Not even a pandemic could stop Ukrainians, especially Ukrainians in the U.S. The year 2020 began like any other year, but then things changed, and the community adapted with events, meetings and other activities moved online. Major events and milestones, like the 95th anniversary of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, were commemorated, some events were postponed, and others had to be cancelled. But, as an editorial in The Weekly reminded readers, “Hope is not cancelled.”
Filmmaker and writer Oleh Sentsov visited the United States on January 25, with a stop at the Ukrainian National Home in New York hosted by Razom for Ukraine, to discuss his observations since his release from Russian imprisonment in December 2019 after his arrest in Crimea in May 2014 by Russian occupying forces. Mr. Sentsov focused his remarks to the nearly 300 in attendance on the political prisoners held in Russia, those held by the Russia-backed militants in the Donbas, and the political situations in Ukraine and Russia.
Virtual. That would be the best word to characterize the activity of the worldwide Ukrainian diaspora during 2020 as the novel coronavirus spread. In-person events were few and far between, but there were plenty of official statements laying out the diaspora’s positions regarding developments in Ukraine and issues related to Ukraine.
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations (AFUO), which comprises 24 community organizations throughout the country and acts as the spokesperson on matters concerning relationships within the Ukrainian community and between Australia and Ukraine, was active also in humanitarian issues and COVID-related concerns. At the beginning of 2020, Stefan Romaniw, the federation’s co-chair, reported that the Ukrainian Australian community had raised $67,000 – well over the stated goal of $50,000 – for relief efforts related to the huge bushfires that ravaged Australia.
From fund drives for existing church properties in the U.S. and the construction of a new church in Palatine, Ill., to the consecration of new bishops around the globe and moves made in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was certainly an eventful year for our Ukrainian Churches. Following, in chronological order, are major developments of the year.
In the January 5 issue of The Ukrainian Weekly, readers learned about the ASC Capital Campaign, a fund drive launched in August 2019 for All Saints Camp in Emlenton, Pa., which is owned by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. (UOC-U.S.A.). The drive aims to make necessary upgrades with the camp’s approaching 50th anniversary in 2028, to allow the camp to grow, so that a safe and fun encampment facility can continue to offer programs for all ages.