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Recent JCU graduate Julia Kashuba ‘22, of Ukrainian descent, uses her writing to provide a view into what her family is experiencing during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to Kashuba, “My goal in writing ‘A Ukrainian Heart’ was to give people, especially those who have no personal ties to Ukraine or the ongoing genocide, a view into what their neighbors are experiencing.” 


Cleveland Magazine published Kashuba’s piece ‘A Ukrainian Heart’ and accompanying artwork on their website earlier this month. Kashuba says the article started as a poem, but she reworked it into a story to submit for publication. She says she wants to provide a narrative of empathy to the ongoing conflict. 


“My only hope is that my essay brings a sense of empathy to those who have no Ukrainian connections and that I can humanize the term “Ukrainian” a bit more for those who just know us as statistics or far-off figures,” Kashuba added.


To anyone reading this, I’m just like you. I’m a human being; I grew up in America, I just graduated from college, and I have many of the same experiences as you. We are not all that different. Yet, society has a tendency to push ourselves away from what’s unfamiliar. I get it; it’s a human instinct. That’s exactly why I wrote this piece—to bring familiarity to what is entirely unfamiliar to so many of my own neighbors.

You can read Kashuba’s ‘A Ukrainian Heart’ here