A friend of mine is using her knitting gift to make Ukrainian flags that people can wear as pins. Symbols are incredibly important because they keep our level of awareness high.
We all know what the pink ribbon symbolizes. We see it and we think about breast cancer, we think about those we know who have endured it and those who died from it. The pink ribbon is a reminder that there is work to be done. People are still suffering and dying from breast cancer. Seeing the pink ribbon may remind us to make a donation to the breast cancer foundation.
These knitted Ukrainian flags do the same thing. They are a reminder that over half the children in Ukraine have been displaced, that people are suffering, and dying needlessly. Right now there is a high level of awareness of the suffering but as time goes on and another news story hits the wires, the sense of urgency about Ukraine could wane. This symbol can help keep our attention from wandering and remind us to take some kind of action.
I have worked with Rural and MIgrant Ministry for almost twenty years as a volunteer. This organization has helped migrant workers work to advocate for farmworker rights, worked with migrant youth on leadership skills, and helped rural women become healthy and independent. Apples are a 2 billion dollar industry in upstate NY and those who pick the apples work long hours for next to nothing. They live in fear of being deported and are desperate to help their children find a pathway to citizenship.
Everyone enjoys their favorite apples from New York but we forget about the suffering of those who pick them. I’m working to raise money for RMM and seeing the Ukrainian flag has reminded me that symbols help to raise our level of awareness and spur us to action. Isn’t that why I wear this gold cross around my neck?
There have been countless people who have made pink ribbons, purple ribbons, flags, crosses, poppies, and other symbols to create awareness of situations that need our attention. Let us not forget.
For more information on Rural and MIgrant Ministry go here: