Matthew Kaplan Photography

Rally at St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Church in Chicago - 4/3/22

As jetliners flew overhead, on their way to nearby O'Hare Airport, hundreds of Ukrainian-Americans gathered Sunday at the spectacular St Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Catholic Church, to raise money and display support for their invaded homeland.

After opening performances by children's choirs, speakers addressed the US government, as well as the crowd around the churches' grotto, and demanded more aid to Ukraine as it battles the brutal Russian onslaught.

"Putin and his forces are committing genocide!" cried Serhiy Koledov, Consul General of Ukraine in Chicago. Referring to the just uncovered civilian deaths in the Kiev suburb of Bucha, Mr. Koledov continued "When is the world going to say Never Again?". He asked the US and European democracies to provide more weapons to Ukraine and to establish a no-fly zone over the country. "Ukraine's sacrifices are keeping Europe from darkness!" he exclaimed. "Europe owes a great debt of gratitude to Ukraine". "Close the sky! Close the sky!" came the repeated reply from the audience.

State Senator Rob Martwick, whose district includes St Joseph's parish, declared "We must stand against this lawless invasion!" Sen. Martwick vowed to push laws divesting Illinois' pension funds from Russian investments, and presented a proclamation of support for Ukraine from the state senate to Counsul General Koledov.

Refugee Sofia Kolesnyk, a college student, described fleeing her homeland at the urging of her family, immediately after the invasion began. But she continued, "I believe Ukraine will win, and I will be able to return to my home!".

Dan Diaczun of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America thanked the US for allowing thousands of refugees into the country but said more must be done: "President Biden, open the doors!" he called. From many in the crowd was heard a reply "Wake up Biden, wake up Biden!".

His voice breaking as he mentioned Ukraine's dead children, Mr. Diaczun closed the rally with a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of Russia's aggression.

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