DALLAS — Chrystya Geremesz' home is practically a history lesson by itself. Her living room is filled with family heirlooms and cultural artifacts from her home country of Ukraine. Her home country has been top of mind because of the rising tensions on the border between Russia and Ukraine.
"This is not about Ukraine and Russia. This is about Democracy, this is about freedom," said Geremesz.
Her parents immigrated after World War II and situated in Pennsylvania. Geremesz then moved to North Texas and started a nonprofit called Ukrainian American Society of Texas. Her intent with the nonprofit is to connect local Texans to their Ukrainian roots.
She said when she was younger she was only told the good and positive things about Ukraine. She would later find out about the twisted and complicated history between the two nations. She said her people have been fighting for freedom for hundreds of years highlighted by the crisis in Crimea in 2014.
Geremesz said Tuesday's warnings to Russia from President Biden did not instill much confidence.
"He said if Russian invades Ukraine...well, Russia already invaded Ukraine and hasn't left," she said.
Geremesz' nonprofit Ukrainian American Society of Texas is a source to educate people on the conflict and even a source to help. She's networking now for humanitarian aid and care packages to be sent to the area.
She's seen the pictures worldwide of children and the elderly taking up arms.
"That puts a smile on my face. Just that gut determination. That fierce Cossack blood in us, that no matter what we're going to fight because we have something to fight for," she said.
Geremesz has uncles and cousins who live in Western Ukraine. She keeps in contact with them over the phone. But she is sure to not to mention the conflict so as not to add any more stress or create panic. She has helped with sending money to help the family with extra rations.