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New Book Draws Parallels Between Ukraine Protests and the Events at Kent State on May 4, 1970

Bill Arthrell
Kabir Bhatia
Retired Cleveland Schools teacher Bill Arthrell was among the protestors at Kent State May 4, 1970. That experience led to his first arrest, and he estimates he's had a dozen more in the years since, all while protesting. He's spent much of the past decade volunteering and protesting in Ukraine, and his reflections about that time are in his new book, "Ukrainian Heart."

A new book draws parallels between a local man’s recent experiences in Ukraine, and the 1970 Kent State shootings that claimed the lives of four students.

Oberlin native Bill Arthrell protested with others at Kent State May 4, 1970, and was there when the National Guard opened fire. He says that event cemented his desire to see change throughout the world. Most recently, he traveled to Ukraine and connected with volunteers after seeing coverage of violent protests in 2014.

“It was so reminiscent of Kent State and what I had been through 44 years before. I just knew that I had to go to Ukraine and help them, which is fairly bizarre because it's not normal behavior to go join a revolution halfway around the world,” he said.

Arthrell’s new poetry collection, “Ukrainian Heart,” is a reflection of his time working with refugees and as an election observer. He also worked on the 2016 documentary, "Ukraine: Path to Freedom":

Ukraine: Path to Freedom - Trailer

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.