Statement on the crisis in Ukraine

Press Release
Friday, March 4, 2022

Statement on the crisis in Ukraine

As we’ve been watching the developments in Ukraine we have been shocked and disgusted by the illegal targeting of civilians and the wanton disregard for Ukraine’s sovereignty as a nation. Vladimir Putin’s premeditated, unprovoked assault on Ukraine and its people is nothing less than a crime against humanity and a threat to the sanctity of democracy everywhere. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center condemns this assault on the people of Ukraine.

What we are witnessing is an unveiled move by a dictator to conquer a sovereign nation, willing and ready to target civilians with advanced weaponry. Putin’s unabashed threats of nuclear strikes are a threat to humanity and the inalienable rights of every person to life and liberty.

We have seen a significant portion of the international community unite in the face of this alarming aggression. We are encouraged by this multinational acknowledgment of what is at stake, but we must do more. We must all be ready to make those sacrifices necessary to defend the sanctity of human life and the sovereignty of democracy, to show that, yes, we will stand up against tyranny.

We admire and applaud the Ukrainians’ brave and staunch defense of their country. Ukrainians from all sectors of society, from all ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds are banding together in this bold stand to uphold the principles of democracy and a free Ukraine. However, reports of unequal treatment of refugees of color by border security, if true, are an injustice and are inconsistent with the unity we have seen displayed across Ukraine in this moment of crisis. We hope in this moment Ukrainians, and all of us, can come together not as countrymen, but as humanity.

This is an unprecedented threat in many of our lifetimes. Not since the 1940s has the collective peace of humanity been so threatened. We must rise to this moment.

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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