Governor and Lieutenant Governor Join West Hartford Community at Vigil in Support of Ukraine – We-Ha
Governor Ned Lamont, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Mayor Shari Cantor, other officials, religious leaders and the director of the Ukrainian National Home organization in Hartford spoke at a vigil of support in Ukraine at West Hartford on Sunday.
By Ronni Newton
It has now been more than two weeks since Russia began its attack on Ukraine, and on Sunday afternoon Governor Ned Lamont and Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz joined Mayor Shari Cantor at a vigil at the West Hartford City Hall to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people who continue their fight.
“We know Russia’s attack was unlawful, unprovoked and unwarranted, and it has been amazing to see how the United States and its allies, and literally the entire world, have come together and rallied together in support of the Ukrainian people,” said Bysiewicz. . The courage of Ukrainians, the willingness of the people of Poland and other neighboring countries to welcome more than a million refugees seeking safety, and the way the people of Connecticut stepped up to help were so inspiring, a- she declared.
“This is truly a humanitarian crisis that we are witnessing,” Bysiewicz said, urging people to support trusted organizations such as Save the Children, AmeriCares, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
“Why not raise these beautiful flags and show Mr. Putin who we are and where we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, democracy, freedom and human rights,” Bysiewicz said, as the A crowd of several hundred responded by waving small Ukrainian flags that had been distributed to the first 250 people to arrive.
“This scene is replicated thousands of times across Connecticut, across America, on every continent on Earth, because…freedom doesn’t come free, we’re going to stand up, we’re going to support the people of Ukraine. every day,” Lamont said. , urging the community, if they know anyone who lives in Russia, to let them know what is really happening and the outrage the world feels. President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine surprised everyone with their courage, and they need our full support, including financial and medical resources, he said.
“Democracy is in danger, democracy is under threat, freedom is not free, and I think you see people fighting for their freedom like there’s no tomorrow. Let’s not let them down , let’s do what we can to support them as well,” Lamont said.
Other speakers included State Rep. Edwin Vargas, who will represent part of West Hartford when the realignment is complete and in whose district Ukraine’s national home is located. He said that while no one wants to pay more at the gas pump, it’s a small price to pay compared to what Ukrainians experience. “Slava Ukraini! he said, as the crowd echoed the phrase, which means “Glory to Ukraine!” – and is a saying once banned by the Soviet Union.
One who has been intimately involved in the Ukraine support effort is Myron Kolinsky, the child of Ukrainian-born parents and the organizational director of the Ukrainian National Home in Hartford. He said following an organized ride last week, a 53-foot tractor-trailer headed for New Jersey carrying the first load of clothing, food, medical supplies and other items donated during his trip to Poland and Ukraine.
“We thank you all for your support, for the donations, for the prayers,” Kolinsky said. “We really appreciate it and thank you for being here today. Slava Ukraini,” he added.
“We had an overwhelming response last week,” Kolinsky said after the vigil. He said the City of West Hartford, through public relations specialist Renée McCue, was coordinating volunteers to help sort and pack donations, but also needed funds to pay for the shipping.
In addition to the semi-trailer that left last week, Kolinsky said another semi-trailer is scheduled to leave on March 24 and that there are seven modules in the parking lot of the Ukrainian National Home with sorted goods, as well as more donations at the bottom. house level as well that still needs to be sorted.
“We asked what we could do to make a difference in what is becoming the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II,” said Jewish Federation President and CEO David Waren. “A crisis that does not stop at Ukraine’s borders and a conflict that also calls into question our values and our way of life.
Standing in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and the institutions and values they stand for is one thing, Waren said. “There are hundreds of us here, but we join millions around the world who have been protesting over the past two weeks.”
The Jewish Federation has already raised more than $350,000 in 10 days, Waren said, “and we’re not stopping.” He urged people to support charities to help the millions in need of food, clothing, medicine and shelter.
Clergy also addressed the crowd, including Rabbi Debra Cantor, Rabbi Michael Pincus and Reverend Stacy Emerson.
“Then, like now, the war, the invasion, was fueled by lies, propaganda and misinformation, which relied on old prejudices and fears,” said Rabbi Cantor, who s visited Ukraine nine years ago, a year before the invasion and annexation of Russia. Crimea. “My friends, we must stand against all of this, against the senseless and cruel, incredibly cruel invasion, against the indiscriminate attacks on a civilian population, against the efforts of a megalomaniac to destroy a fledgling democracy, against the cruelty, the “horror, destruction…we must stand up for what is right. We must extend our compassionate embrace in a tangible way to the people of Ukraine.”
Mayor Shari Cantor said a spokesperson for the World Central Kitchen said the volunteers feed people, but although they usually respond to natural disasters, which come to an end, “it’s really about an ongoing crisis and is likely to get worse, so there’s a different response and another demand, a different ask from all of us, I’m just asking you to stay strong, to support the people you can support.
Andrei Brel, founder and chairman of West Harford-based Juniper Homecare, said following the vigil that they had nearly 100 Ukrainian employees, and many of them still had family or friends there. . One of his managers was able to bring his sister, via Romania, to the United States. “She brought her daughter, but her husband is fighting, he is in the war zone. It’s a bittersweet feeling,” he said.
Brel, originally from Belarus, brought his family to the United States in 1993. “I would never imagine a war,” he said.
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