In last Thursday’s Wheeling Intelligencer editorial, we were told that West Virginians
“are always willing to welcome new folks. . . . This is a West Virginia trait that does not differ based on the letter someone chooses to put after his or her last name. If someone needs our help, we give it.”
In addition to praising its citizens, the editorial also commended the legislature for its rhetoric on the subject. So what has the state been doing to help the plight of Ukrainian refugees? I’ve searched and found little beyond a few faith-based groups and some individual efforts. On Monday, for example, local TV station WTRF reported that a local couple had welcomed parents fleeing the Ukraine. However, while various search engines do note some fundraising for the Ukraine, they list no organized efforts by the state to welcome displaced Ukrainians.
Aubrey King, writing in today’s Charleston Gazette-Mail, has also searched. Here are his findings:
So, what is our state doing to anticipate, prioritize, plan, recruit and welcome these desperate refugees? How are we consulting with the federal agencies? In a word, West Virginia is doing nothing.
If more is happening behind the scenes, it must be far behind, and I stand ready to praise it, but little is visible at this time. The West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry solicits support and welcomes refugees, but with very limited resources.
Where is the West Virginia governor’s summit or commission or task force or special legislative session or emergency program of any type? What are state and local agencies doing to respond to this humanitarian crisis?
King contrasts WV’s lack of action with the State of Ohio which began organizational efforts last week. Yes, Ohio is making the effort:
To return to my original question, does West Virginia deserve praise for its Ukrainian refugee efforts? Despite what Ogden and the legislature tell us, when it comes to helping the Ukraine refugees (not unlike those from Afghanistan), the answer has to be “no.” Simply put, we are a lot of talk, but no action.