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Morning Brief: Ukrainian Angelenos, LA Parties, And Pickleball

Several people stand on the side of a busy urban street holding Ukrainian flags.
Speaking of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one Ukrainian Angeleno lamented “it’s [the] new history of Ukraine.”
(Alborz Kamalizad
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 28.

L.A.’s Ukrainian community is uniting to make their voices heard as their homeland tries to fight back a Russian invasion.

Local protests began last week with a rally outside the U.S. Federal Building on Friday and continued throughout the weekend.

In an interview with my colleague Zoe Kurland, organizer Ivanna Huz, who helped plan a protest in Santa Monica yesterday, said that she’s never felt such camaraderie among her fellow ex-pats in L.A.

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“We did never actually have Ukrainian community here,” she said. “And right now, everybody's so united, so together … it’s so beautiful.”

Using the hashtag #CloseTheSky, organizers of Sunday’s event hoped to encourage world leaders to shut down airspace over Ukraine, preventing Russian troops from engaging in air strikes. Protesters also want immediate military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine; more severe sanctions against Russia; and isolation of Russia “in all possible formats on the world stage.”

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At the Ukrainian Culture Center in East Hollywood, which also houses the Ukrainian Art Center, the mission continues to preserve the country’s folklore, culture and language.

“You cannot rewrite folklore and culture,” said Iryna Vasylkova, who helps with programming there. “So we contribute to peace in Ukraine by nurturing its culture wherever we are.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The primary election for L.A.’s next mayor is just four months away, and as campaigning heats up, public safety and law enforcement are becoming key issues.
  • After a cold spell last week, warmer weather is expected today and tomorrow. 
  • L.A.-style backyard parties, featuring lowriders, piñatas and more, are making their way across the border. 
  • California may soon mandate strategies to help people at risk of losing their home because of domestic abuse, a major cause of homelessness for women.
  • As has been the case throughout the pandemic, Black Californians are still more likely to die from COVID-19 than any other group.

Before You Go ... Pickleball's In A Pickle

Illustration of players and a perforated yellow plastic pickleball
Pickleball is a fast-growing sport that needs more places to play.
(Photo illustration by Alborz Kamalizad

Pickleball is having its moment in the sun. After years of playing second fiddle to tennis and even squash, the underdog sport is on the rise, thanks to a boom of interest during the pandemic (and shout-outs from celebrities like Larry David and Leo DeCaprio). In L.A., that means people are now struggling to find places to play.

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Corrected February 28, 2022 at 9:48 AM PST
A previous version of this story incorrectly called the Ukrainian Culture Center the Ukrainian Cultural Center. LAist regrets the error.