Florida4Ukraine rallies in Fort Lauderdale for a besieged country (includes video story)

Many residents gathered in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend to show their support for Ukraine. They communicated one message: put an end to this war.

“This war is barbaric, it’s unprovoked and it’s awful,” shared Julia Lemesh, co-president of the Florida4Ukraine organization. “And we want to bring awareness about Putin being not just someone who initiated the war but being a war criminal. And we just ask for the international community to stop the war and help us.”

Florida4Ukraine urges citizens to put pressure on the U.S. government to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

“This can literally help us stop this war,” she said. “We don’t want it to continue for months, years, we want to end it now. And there is no way we can do this without U.S. support.”

Meanwhile, thousands of Ukrainians have migrated to other countries, but even with visas, are denied entry in the U.S.

“Those Ukrainians who tried to get at least tourist visas, B1 or B2, they got refused,” says Lemesh. “There are no visa mechanisms, they cannot get here on tourist visas and that is a huge problem.”

Lemesh also hopes to bring awareness to organizations including Ukrainian Global Scholars, a foundation that seeks support for Ukrainian students. During the rally, the organization also highlighted its efforts in funding the Ukrainian people and military with specific supplies.

“We are funding for medical aid, humanitarian aid and for the most important thing that our soldiers need in Ukraine are armor vests and helmets,” says Lemesh. “They are not protected.”

For those who want to show their support, you can visit Florida4Ukraine’s Facebook group for more information on contributions.  

Zitlali Solache is a student in Florida International University, pursuing her Masters degree in Spanish-Language Broadcast Journalism. Zitlali Solache is Mexican American and has a passion for storytelling and news. She has interned for WPBT PBS, WSVN Channel 7 and STEP Univision. After graduation, Zitlali aspires to become a reporter/anchor in her hometown Miami, FL.