More than two months after the Russian invasion, more than 2.68 million civilians have been forcefully displaced from their homes and 2,000-plus people have died from weaponry and bomb attacks.
Last month, Ukrainian Americans gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to pressure the United States government and the world to stop the war.
Supporters held Ukrainian flags and signs with messages such as “Stand Up for Ukraine,” “No War,” and “Close the Sky.” The United Help Ukraine, one of the organizers of the event, brought guest speakers as well as a video from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Adrrienne Gooding was raised in northern Virginia and was part of her Ukrainian community for most of her life. She attended Ukrainian Saturday schools, went to Ukrainian church every weekend, and was part of the Ukrainian Scouts. For her, it was devastating to learn what was going on in the country.
Gooding told SFMN that she has close family in Ukraine, and it breaks her heart to see what they are going through. The moment she received the news about the Russian invasion, she she “tried to get in touch with family as soon as possible, on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger, learning where everyone was and locating them. It’s just being an emotional rollercoaster constantly refreshing the news. Learning what’s going on and asking if they are safe.”
For the past couple of months, she has desperately tried to keep up with the news. Currently, she has some family in Latvia and others on the front lines helping at hospitals. The only way she can show support is by protesting every weekend.
Ilona Zebirun Nockles was born in Ukraine and had to escape the horrors of the Soviet Union early in her childhood. She was welcomed by the United States through a refugee visa and has lived in the United States ever since.
Nockles still has a close family in Ukraine and keeps in touch daily. She feels that it is very important for her to use her “time and [her] voice and [her] body, physically, to end this nightmare as soon as possible.” She says it is important to call Senators to take diplomatic action immediately. If anyone wants to help materially, the best way is to donate resources to Ukrainian churches.
The organizers of the event held the demonstration virtually for those who could not attend in person, encouraging them to support Ukraine by placing a Ukrainian flag on their porches or windows.