Letter From the Publisher: Spring 2024

By Karen Floyd

by Karen Floyd

Why in the world would you travel to Ukraine and put your life at risk to film a documentary?” I was repeatedly asked. The question surprised me. As the founder and publisher of the ELYSIAN ecosystem for almost a decade, I have adhered strictly to our editorial mantra, “Women Inspiring Women.” Since its conception in 2013, I have been privileged to interview over a thousand professional, philanthropic, trendsetting women who have been featured in our magazine’s award-winning pages and captured on film. The inspiring stories of women who overcome, persevere, and endure are what undergirds everything ELYSIAN. Many share their vulnerability and pain while others recount tales of gratitude and blessings. Giving women their voice, with the hope others would find inspiration and connection, is central to ELYSIAN’s ethos.

On February 21, 2022, when Russia invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine, something inside of me was awakened. In our complex world of incredible advancement from sending NFTs to the moon, cranial implants, electric vehicles, clean energy, and more … how could this happen?

I believe every person has a purpose; mine is to give sound to the voiceless. With the invasion weighing heavily on my heart, I decided to capture the Ukrainian women’s voices in film and expose the truth through a documentary. For weeks that were exhilarating, depressing, exhausting, and perilous, our small crew consisting of a cinematographer, translator, and soldiers, traveled covertly throughout Ukraine, to Kiev, and the deadly front lines. We filmed remarkable Ukrainian women whose courage, fortitude, and love of family and the motherland gave a new dimension to “inspiring women.” Perhaps for the first time in my life, I came to understand the decisive role strong women selflessly assume when everything they love and hold dear is put on the line.

Fight for Ukraine: 12 Women’s War reflected the interviews of a Supreme Court Justice, Nurse, Driver, Medic, Combat soldier, Widow expecting a child, Government official, Trainer, Interpreter, Reconnaissance soldier, Student, and a Cook. They were brave in what were seemingly unnoticed, yet impactful ways. They maintained both their humanity and dignity in the face of evil.

Their stories reminded me of an epiphany my only sister Kathy shared with me in her final stages of cancer. She was a world-class athlete, not to mention an academic with a doctorate and post-doctorate from Cal Tech. She was teaching at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “We have it all wrong, Karen,” she said. “It is what each of us does every day that matters most — the small acts of bravery that are never seen, that move humanity forward.” Our 82-minute documentary, Fight for Ukraine: 12 Women’s War, is a testimony to that notion. The resilience of women when thrust into the agonies of war, in Ukraine or any part of a world in conflict, is inspiring. Their strength enables human existence.

The documentary was awarded or selected for 9 international film festivals, as of this spring, yet I felt there was a deeper story to be told. And so, for the second time, we traveled to Ukraine to film the sequel, Fight for Ukraine; For the Children. The storyline is based upon a simple premise — that, because women bring life into this world, they are also uniquely impacted by the spoils of war.

Genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group. I witnessed this in Ukraine, and central to genocide, was a systemic effort to remove hope and crush the human spirit. While filming there, we identified three horrific ways this was accomplished; the ultimate sacrifices of the soldiers, the isolation and despair of the women, and the marginalization and generational impact of war on children.

In Kiev, there is a mural of three overlapping hands, a child, the mother, and the soldier. The mural is symbolic and portrays a visual “cry” to the world. It represents the hope and future of the country. The storyline of Fight for Ukraine; For the Children focuses on these three central themes: why men are willing to die for the future of their motherland and their children; why women have a unique and formidable capacity to deal with suffering yet still find meaning and hope, and finally — why the children drive their united passion despite the horrors of war. For survivors of all war, it is my profound hope that they not just learn how to endure, survive, and exist, but to unlearn hate, animosity, and revenge.

This issue is dedicated to all women who serve . . . because, as my sister Kathy explained, “True heroism stems from the quiet and unnoticed acts, oftentimes from women’s hands.”

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy