Long Beach Community Shows Support For Ukraine

A peace vigil was held Friday evening at Bay Shore Church to offer support to those suffering in Ukraine during the recent attacks from Russian forces. 

After months of the devastating war in Ukraine, many community members felt compelled to offer support in any way they can. The peace vigil, organized by activist Justin Rudd, brought together community members such as Congressman Alan Lowenthal, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Mayor Robert Garcia, Councilwoman Suzie Price, and Police Chief Wally Hebeish.

Speakers at the event included Ukrainian Americans Yevgeniya Pokhylko and Anna Lugo as well as California State University, Long Beach student Ivan Prokopenko.

Pokhylko was born in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine which is currently facing the brunt of the war against Russia and has been living in Long Beach for the past 13 years. 

“We feel grief for every life lost, for every orphan left behind, for every family torn apart, for every dream shattered,” said Pokhylko. 

Both Pokhylko and lugo have been active in supporting their family and friends in Ukraine and have been fundraising for those in need. 

The event featured the tolling of the church bells followed by the Ukrainian national anthem. Students Terence Sampson and Zoe Asis recited original poetry followed by singing from Kaleya Erivn. 

On top of the support shown at the peace vigil, others in Long Beach have raised funds for the war-torn country. 

A fundraiser was held to help the evacuation of children and families from combat zones in Ukraine. A survivor of the Cambodian genocide living in Long Beach, Mrs. Limon, has partnered with the organization Kidsave to help raise funds. Kidsave has already assisted in rescuing more than 6,000 Ukrainians from at-risk areas. Many of those that have been rescued from combat areas are orphans. 

This fundraiser was inspired by the First Lady of Ukraine’s plea for women around the world to help her country. Since, Limon has rallied her community of women across Southern California to assist in the fundraising effort. 

Kidsave is also supplying Ukrainians with medicine, medical supplies, and food through their humanitarian aid. Kidsave feeds around 6,000 people per day in certain regions of Ukraine. To make a donation go to Kidsave.org.

By Morgan Trivitt

Photo Credit : Anna Lugo