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Born to a usual, loving Ukrainian family of an Electronic Engineer and Financial Analyst, she was raised in arguably the most beautiful country on Earth, Ukraine. An outspoken Ukrainian teacher and lawyer, Svitlana continued her education in U.S. rediscovering her passion for acting. She fondly remembers her drama and choreography instructors from university's student theater and many amazing, talented people that continue inspiring her. Formerly a radio program host, Svitlana speaks excellent English with a very slight, pleasant accent that many people interpret as French. A rhythmic gymnast in the past, she loves dancing, arts and technology and enjoys teaching languages. Svitlana possesses a unique talent of communication with children and young adults and dreams to take part in some great film for kids, to create social programs keeping Hawaii's teens meaningfully occupied after school and to help increase awareness on extreme importance of equal wages for women and men in the United States. She lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and visits Ukraine on vacations as often as she can.
While still in Ukraine, Svitlana was nominated to become a public deputy candidate for her district in Ukraine. The only caveat was her very young age. The age limit prevented her from participation in local elections at that time. In middle school (sixth grade), she served as a Middle School President elected by class leaders. Earlier, each class held separate elections to pick a class leader. At that time, Svitlana was taking part in helping make educational and organizational decisions along with school teachers expressing aggregated opinions of each class from fourth to eighth grade (3-4 classes of 31-33 students in each grade) through their class leaders. Additionally, her duties included awareness of city's and regional decision-making in areas of middle school education, learning to formulate and convey ideas, see a need for improvements, be able to suggest social programs for kids as well as attend weekly weekend classes on development of social skills. Middle School Presidents were also responsible for helping plan and organize after-school activities for scouts to assist WWII veterans, help with city's streets & parks maintenance, organize scrap metal & paper collection for recycling and suggest useful activities for summer camp programs.
Most schools in Ukraine were called Secondary Schools, to be precise, with elementary (young), middle and high (senior) classes located on different floors of the same building but taking part in most school activities together. All middle school kids were members of scouts' organization with very rare exceptions of kids that were encouraged to improve their school performance and discipline before they could join all other children for fun activities and not-so-fun duties like cleaning school area or collecting scrap metal. The scout organization was a tightly interweaved part of middle school giving each kid a right to vote within their school and a right to be collectively heard by teachers, just like labor unions used to be an essential part of each workplace and could not be ignored by management. It was certainly imperfect and, perhaps, too political. A year or two later, the child scout organization was abolished in Ukraine. Apparently, it has never been replaced with anything else like American Boy and Girl Scouts leaving kids unattended after school for the most part.
Svitlana's Favorite City: Kyiv, Ukraine
Favorite Movie: "Здравствуйте, я ваша тетя" (translated as Hello, I Am Your Auntie) - Amazon Prime might have this comedy with English subtitles, among many others
Favorite Actor: Andrey Mironov
DNA Ancestry (updated): Svitlana is Ukrainian and Polish, partly Czech, Hungarian and Russian, a bit French and German (one of her ancestors was allegedly 100% French and German and lived between 5 and 8+ generations ago in a general area of Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France; a precise region could not be identified), a bit British & Irish (one of her ancestors was allegedly 100% British & Irish and lived 7-8 generations ago in that region), a little Balkan (one of her ancestors was allegedly 100% Balkan and lived between 5 and 8+ generations ago either in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Romania), a bit Native American, broadly North Western European and broadly European.
Svitlana's maternal haplogroup (her mother's line information that is passed to all kids in the family through their mothers) is one of the newer discoveries in genetics. Her maternal line is rather unique and rarely found in Europe. One of Svitlana's female ancestors is responsible for making an unbelievable journey along the Silk Road (as it was named in Byzantine times) approximately 18,000 years ago. Presumably, she moved much closer towards Europe from an area that is now known as India. Europe was covered in ice for a long time before and after that move. Scientists state that not many representatives of her maternal line survived after the end of a glacier episode and ice age. It makes linking some scattered ancient discoveries together more difficult.
Another branch of the root maternal haplogroup ended up in Polynesia. It is believed that the New World was tribalized about 16,000 years ago. As a hypothetical, if people from Polynesia reached Hawaiian islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean by sea, the very same people could have made it to America, either by sea or, as scientists believe, by land when Alaska was still connected to the Eastern area of today's Russia through Bering land bridge. They could have been the very first tribalizers that gave start to the Native American tribes in North America. Offsprings of those tribes populated the South America eventually as well, approximately 6,000 years ago. If the land connection through Alaska already existed, they could have moved back and forth between the continents both by land and by sea.
Svitlana's maternal haplogroup is also evident in two Siberian tribes (in discoveries from 25,000 years ago) that have most registered tribe members living in Siberia and some are found in Ukraine. Her maternal line is not uncommon among Native American tribes while Siberian tribes are considered genetically related to Native Americans. This discussion brought us to the following speculation. Some genetics' papers are attempting to find a connection between Svitlana's haplogroup and ancient Yamnaya people that lived in steppes on the north shores of the Black Sea (areas of Ukraine and further to the North). Yamnaya people gave a start and a significant boost to most European nations and might be responsible for a light color of skin in modern Europeans, in additiona to many innovations and technologies that Yamnaya brought. Maybe Siberian tribes hold an answer to that quest and can "give" an explanation since some samples have an evidence of both haplogroups, possibly connecting two dots. The ultimate question is whether the samples are ancient enough to support that idea.
Interesting Fact 1: A brother of Svitlana's great-grandmother immigrated to the United States about the age of twenty and settled in San Francisco, California with his Californian wife. He kept in touch very closely with the rest of his family in Ukraine. State officials were restless trying to figure why this guy kept sending almost weekly letters to an otherwise ordinary, small Ukrainian town for about forty years until he passed away. Most letters were arriving with some paragraphs blacked out in ink, partly or entirely. Shortly after receiving a letter, the family members in Ukraine would be requested to show up in a state office for questioning each and every time. The questions asked were always the same, such as who was this person in San Francisco, how was he related, why was he writing and what was he writing about. Some or most of Ukrainian letters written to him did not make it as he mentioned. But, he continued writing about his daily life and anything that worried him, anyway. Being concerned with whether the family was receiving his mailings, he gave his very last letter to the Russian Astronaut Titov (a big gratitude to him!) during a space conference in California who mailed the envelope to Ukraine directly from Moscow. Such an unusual dedication to loved ones was undeniably supported by people around. Many families in Ukraine and around the globe that were separated by wars or other circumstances will probably recognize themselves in this incredible story.
Interesting Fact 2: Svitlana might have been the very first Ukrainian ever that received her Hawaii State ID at the end of 90s. On a day of issue of her ID card, Ukraine was missing from a list of countries in the state office records. She was asked to carefully spell the country name to enter it into the state computers for the very first time. Svitlana might have been the one of very first individuals that were approved to enter Hawaii directly on a visa after extremely thorough background checks and even medical exams. Before the end of 90s, Ukrainians were able to enter Hawaii from other U.S. states only. For quite some time after the end of the cold war, no Ukrainians or Russians could come straight to Hawaii for family visits or as tourists due to a presence of American military bases and respective security policies.
The same restriction might have been in place for most other nationals and white Americans as well considering that the only white people in Hawaii for the most part were from U.S. military families stationed in Hawaii if we look back into 60s and 70s, for example. Such was the case with Svitlana's husband and his military family stationed here that decided to stay. It was a little later when Caucasians started settling in Hawaii for good. Perhaps, the breaking point was around 1975 with the very last passenger boat to Hawaii, before airplanes started flying to the islands. It might explain rather questionable attitude towards white people from some locals in Hawaii or from their visiting female family members from overseas. Let's explain this point.
If other states claim that Spanish or African American people, to name a few, belong to a minority, Hawaii can claim that its white population is certainly a minority to this day. It's a sort of endless, useless struggle as to who owns the islands, in a way. Most interestingly, Hawaiians by ethnicity with exception of some teenagers are not interested in such a mental struggle and usually welcome everyone with an open heart and an open mind while some other nationals from other places could get very possessive of Hawaiian land and sun.
This rather striking tension is mostly noticed between females in Hawaii and might have little to do with ethnicity. Women are more possessive in general and have a particular difficulty handling a competition from other females without an urge to simply eliminate all competitors once and for all. It might be grounded in a lack of education, lack of culture, self-confidence or respectful traditions from ancestors and might eventually improve with age, maturity and life experiences.
Hawaii's female population is poor for the most part for many reasons including gender discrimination and inequality in pay as compared to males in same employment positions with the same education and work history, which is also true in many Asian and Polynesian countries that provide majority of immigrants to Hawaii. In U.S., a pay difference between men and women could be as much as 50% given that the only difference between them is gender. It's extremely wrong and unjust, especially for our modern century. It might have been true for many places a couple hundred years ago but it changed nearly everywhere at the beginning of last century. Such a tremendous inequality greatly reflects on a quality of life and a resulting behavior. When someone comes from European culture with an incredible confidence and sees how different it is for females in Hawaii that have never seen a better, more equal and more respectful society, it is shocking. One cannot compensate all that is lacking by a mere showing of attitude to each other. An immediate hostility towards others is a primal, somewhat animal quality that will never replace a sense of confidence or self-respect and will not make anyone's life better. For many women, their attitude is the only defense against the world as if they were surrounded by wild predators because their mothers, perhaps, never knew any better way to teach the girls how to survive.
Without a social change, nothing is likely to improve for local women in the near future. An equal pay provision as well as a guaranteed maternity leave should be written into American Constitution and into American laws. United States is one of very few countries that have zero days of guaranteed maternity leave during which a female's working place is guaranteed to still be there when she returns after giving birth to her child. If men could give birth or in other unusual circumstances, we would advocate to include them into this maternity / paternity leave provision as well. The number of male judges and male lawmakers prevails and makes it even more difficult for men to comprehend or feel remotely comfortable discussing this enormous social issue.
The unequal pay and lack of guaranteed maternity leave might have been mentioned by American courts and during most promising election campaigns but nothing has fundamentally changed. As we know, nearly all major changes in U. S. come from the courts. We need only one case that will reach the United States Supreme Court on appeal and will make a history changing lives for all women in America and letting them make a decent living. Allowing a female half of population to live in dignity is one of the very best ways to improve the economy. Mothers will be able to put food on a table, take care of their health, send their kids to school and even get education themselves. A healthy, happy and well educated mother will raise happy, healthy and educated kids that will back up country's future a million times over what they received. If we consider an old-school argument that every American woman needs to rely on a man to survive by a definition and it is a true reason behind a low pay, let's look at most other societies where men did not become extinct or unneeded only because women got equal pay rights or maternity leave. In fact, men are doing quite well in those societies. As some American law professors love to say, even China (with all due respect to the nation of China) has an equal pay policy for both men and women. U.S. cannot be so far behind in medieval age with all its advancements in many other areas but ignoring a human factor that is holding the society's present and future.
Despite all these contradictions, Hawaii is a melting pot of the Pacific and is one of the most unique places on Earth blending so many nations and cultures together in one place and forcing them to coexist peacefully. And yet, something has to be done to improve life for Hawaii's women, give them respect, confidence and education they deserve.
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