'Vigil for Peace' supporting Ukraine held Friday in downtown Chicago
CHICAGO - As a war-torn Ukraine defends itself from Russian attacks, unity for Ukrainians continues to be shown across Chicagoland.
Ever since Russia invaded the country last Thursday, rallies and vigils have brought people from various communities together.
On Friday evening, a prayer service was held at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in the city’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood, where Ukrainian-Americans remain hopeful that peace will prevail.
With each passing day, calls for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have grown louder.
Earlier Friday, demands for the war to stop echoed across Daley Plaza.
"For many of us here today, what is happening is personal, heartbreaking and soul-crushing," said SEIU Local 1 Vice President Izabela Miltko-Ivkovich.
Hosted by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, essential workers gathered to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.
"Our union is a union of immigrants – thousands from eastern Europe, from Poland, from Ukraine, and as soon as we found out what was happening, we wanted to mobilize, come together and stand strong for families in Ukraine," said Miltko-Ivkovich.
The rally and interfaith vigil was attended by Serhiy Koledov – the Consul General of Ukraine in Chicago, faith leaders from various area churches, and local officials.
"The Russian attack was unprovoked. I think Putin expected that they would just roll through the country and the Ukrainian people have put up a pretty remarkable resistance, and God bless them," said Toni Preckwinkle, president, Cook County Board of Commissioners.
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Over the last week, countless lives have been turned upside down – with many spending their days filled with worry.
"Honestly, every day I wake up with the feeling, I’m calling my family – are they okay? That’s the first thing. You know how you wake up and have coffee, I wake up and call them, ‘are you alive?’ That’s what I’m thinking every day," said Marianna Grytsav, who is originally from Ukraine and has family in Lviv.
Despite growing concern for the developing situation overseas, there is faith and determination that Ukraine will triumph.
"Like my brother says, who’s going to defend Ukraine, right? If we are going to leave, there will be no more country left," said Grytsav.
"Let’s stand together across borders, across nations and fight for a better future and for a better tomorrow," said Miltko-Ivkovich.
Another rally to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. on Daley Plaza.