Yuliya Shirokova immigrated from Kyiv, Ukraine to Tacoma, Washington in August 1996, at age 13. She served as a combat medic in the Washington State Army National Guard and has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in health administration. She is a Medical Operations Director at the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, Washington.
Because Yuliya could not walk until she was three years old, most of her time was spent with adults instead of with her peers. This early exposure to conversations about politics, history, and the aspirations of her fellow Ukrainians sparked her lifelong interest in these subjects. Drawing on her own memories and interviews with family members and friends, Yuliya’s book Light in the Fields (in progress, to be published by Blue Ear Books) takes us through the turbulent times of perestroika, the breakup of the USSR, Ukraine’s first Independence Day, 9/11, and other events through her eyes.
Over the more than 25 years she has lived in the United States, Yuliya has come to understand the impossibility of escaping the political turbulence she thought she had left behind in Kyiv in 1996. The 9/11 terrorist attack, the reporting of the tragedy, and the public rhetoric around it felt very similar to what she had heard growing up around the USSR and its war in Afghanistan. The world’s inaction following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 mirrored the indifference the world showed toward Hitler’s takeover of Czechoslovakia leading up to World War II. The January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol brought back a visceral memory of the 1993 October Coup in Moscow.
Although Yuliya has been planning a memoir for years, recent events in Ukraine were the final catalyst that spurred her to write it now.
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