Celebrities use their platforms to help Ukraine

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Illustration by Mei Salemi

Celebrities encourage Ukrainian donations and raise awareness during heartbreaking times

Mei Salemi, In-depth/features editor, staff writer

It is well-known and evident that celebrities have a widespread economic and social influence. Recognizing their great influence over the people, celebrities are now utilizing their roles and power to draw attention to the urgent and constantly worsening climate of the Ukraine conflict. Celebrities have made generous donations to Ukraine and brought awareness to the humanitarian crisis. 

They have also been active in  encouraging their vast fanbases to donate and support through platforms such as Instagram, twitter, gofundme, and charity organizations. Such stars include Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, J.K. Rowling, Cher, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Leonardo Dicaprio, The Weeknd, Bethenny Frankel. 

Ryan Reynolds, with more than 18 million Twitter followers and nearly 40 million Instagram followers, is raising awareness about issues that Ukranians are enduring.  He tweeted on Saturday, February 26, 2022 that “In 48 hours, countless Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes to neighboring countries. They need protection. When you donate, we’ll match it up to $1,000,000, creating double the support,” through the United Nations refugee agency. This tweet got 25.6K retweets, 1,692 quote tweets, and 91.4 K likes. 

J.K. Rowling is now using her charity foundation, which she started in 2005, called Lumos, to prevent Ukrainian family separation, as well as provide psychological support and resources to vulnerable families in Ukraine. Lumos, named after one of the most famous incantations in Rowling’s famous Harry Potter series, means “light” in latin. J.K. Rowling is certainly providing light and hope to Ukraine, as she has redirected the charity’s focus to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine for children. 

In a tweet on Tuesday, March 7, 2022, she wrote, “I will personally match donations to this appeal, up to £1m. Thank you so, so much to all who’ve already donated, you’re enabling @lumos to do crucial work for some of the most vulnerable children in Ukraine.” 

Rowling later made an update on March 25, 2022, saying “An update on the work of my children’s charity @lumos in #Ukraine. Children trapped in orphanages and other institutions are exceptionally vulnerable right now. “

Mila Kunis, who starred in That 70s Show as Jackie Burkhart, and her husband Ashton Kutcher, are also making a substantial contribution to Ukraine. The couple started a GoFundMe, aiming to raise $30 million. She has surpassed her goal, reaching $31 million in donations. 

On her GoFundMe, she wrote: “Today, I am a proud Ukrainian. While my family came to the United States in 1991, I was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, in 1983. Ukrainians are proud and brave people who deserve our help in their time of need.”

Gigi Hadid, with 42 million Instagram followers, announced in her post that she would be donating all of her earnings from her participation in the Fall 2022 Fashion Week shows this month for the cause. She stated in a caption on her Instagram post that “having a set Fashion Month schedule has meant that my colleagues and I often present new fashion collections during heartbreaking and traumatic times in history.” 

She said on Monday: “Our eyes and hearts must be open to all human injustice. May we all see each other as brothers and sisters, beyond politics, beyond race, beyond religion. At the end of the day, innocent lives pay for war—not leaders.”

Others who have called attention to the crisis on social media include Angelina Jolie, Kendall Jenner, Regina Spektor, Neil Gaiman and Kim Kardashian. While it is important to recognize and appreciate the celebrities that have been active and supportive, these enormous impacts could not have been made without every charitable citizen. Every donation goes to a good cause.