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Morning Brief: Ukrainian Refugees, A Mural In The Valley, And 'The Velveteen Rabbit'

A young Ukrainian girl in a blue jacket sleeps while sitting on a red suitcase, propped up against a pink backpack.
Anna Kuts, 3, sleeps on a suitcase after arriving with her family at the Tijuana airport.
AFP via Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 13.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows no signs of slowing down. For many Angelenos with family in the war-torn country, their focus has remained locked on getting loved ones safe passage stateside.

Such was the case for Tatiana Tomicki of West Hollywood. Speaking to my colleague Leslie Berestein Rojas, Tomicki, whose parents live in Ukraine, described what her mother told her over the phone when the attacks began.

“It was 7 a.m., and that’s when the first three bombs started falling down [on the base],” said Tomicki. “The whole ground was shaking, and people were just like, screaming and panicking in the middle of the little market.”

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Fortunately, her parents had tourist visas from 2015 that were still valid. They arrived to LAX last week. But that has not been the case for all refugees; some who want to come to the U.S. have flown to Mexico and sought humanitarian parole.

Many people fleeing Ukraine have had to patch together a plan for resettlement. President Biden announced in late March that the U.S. would accept Ukrainian refugees, but a clear course of action hasn’t been provided, according to many who have tried to get their families to safety.

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Vasyl Dub, another Ukrainian refugee who successfully brought his family to California, said that with the war still ongoing, it’s unclear when — or if — they’ll be able to return home.  

“It’s difficult to understand the whole picture,” he said, “and plan for a long time.”

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

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • L.A.'s public libraries can provide much-needed services for members of the unhoused community. But the system can only do so much, for now.
  • The county’s department of mental health is looking for people to share their mental health experiences as part of an advisory council.
  • A new mural, "A Valley in Time" by artist Erica Friend, celebrates the San Fernando Valley’s past and present, with a nod to the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.
  • A pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling could hollow out a California law that lets employees collectively sue their employers over workplace law violations. 
  • Wildfire prevention projects across the state are encountering a bureaucratic bottleneck before shovels can even break ground.
  • Comedian Gilbert Gottfried has died at 67 following a long illness. 

Before You Go ... At 100, 'The Velveteen Rabbit' Still Resonates

Six different covers of the children's book "The Velveteen Rabbit" are shown, most with images of the stuffed rabbit and one with an image of a small boy hugging the stuffed rabbit.
Various covers of reissues of "The Velveteen Rabbit."
(Meghan Collins Sullivan
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The beloved children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit is turning 100, and Caldecott Medalist Erin Stead, who illustrated a new anniversary edition, shared her thoughts on why the book continues to resonate — especially now.

The notion of “what's real,” she said, “carries with you for the rest of your life, with all of the relationships you have, all of the friendships that you'll make and all the times people aren't necessarily kind to you. There's a lot of insecurities. There's a lot of figuring out how you belong. It's hard to shake a story that's that honest.”

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