US Lithuanians Rally Support
Boston activists are lobbying politicians, making views known
AS tension brews in the Baltics, Boston's Lithuanian community works calmly to rally support for their land's independence from the Soviet Union. In recent months, local groups like the South Boston Lithuanian-American Citizen's Association have spent long hours participating in demonstrations and lobbying lawmakers to gain US support. Though their work here may not change much in the Soviet Union, activists say making their views known is important.
``Public opinion is important,'' says Lithuanian activist Dalia Sciuka. ``We're leaving no stone unturned as far as expressing public opinion.''
In the Massachusetts legislature, these efforts have had an impact. This week, the state senate voted to support a resolution to urge President Bush to give Lithuania full diplomatic status.
Lithuanian-American groups all over the country - particularly in the past year and a half - are making impressive efforts. Groups like the Lithuanian-American Community Inc. of Virginia have sent Lithuania personal computers and telefax machines to enhance communication. The equipment is used to inform activists here of day-to-day developments in the Baltics as well as keep Lithuanians in touch with the West's reaction to changes in the Soviet Union.
Groups are also organizing trips for Lithuanian politicians to visit the US and meet with members of Congress, State Department officials, and the press.
Activist Arvydas Barzdukas of the Lithuanian American Community Inc. helped to send $50,000 worth of paper to Lithuania to publish a traditional Lithuanian history book. He says several thousand copies have already been printed there.