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'I don't think we even have words': Lexington rallies behind Ukraine

Ukraine protest
Alvaro Barrientos/AP
/
AP
Ukrainian residents gathered at Plaza del Castillo square are draped with national their flag during demonstration against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2022. (AP Photo / Alvaro Barrientos)

Joining worldwide condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, residents in Lexington and around Kentucky are expressing solidarity with Ukrainians in words and deeds.

A speaker at the Ukrainian Pentecostal Church in Lexington speaks alongside an interpreter, saying, "I can't imagine what they're going through, brothers and sisters. I don't think we even have words to explain that situation."

Meanwhile, Natasha Reimer, a Ukrainian native who has called Kentucky home for decades, tells WHAS her relief organization — Mulberry International Resources — is working to provide on the ground support even as they remain in shock over the scenes unfolding.

We're trying to give out food packages, create shelter for those people whose houses have been destroyed. They're just scared. They want to go somewhere and be comforted."
Relief organizer Natasha Reimer (Source: WHAS)

This week, areas of Lexington's downtown will be lit in support of Ukraine as a peace vigil is scheduled for 6 pm March 2 in the courthouse plaza.

Mayor Linda Gorton said the "world is coming together in support of Ukraine, as they fight to defend freedom and democracy," and Lexingtonians — thought far away — are doing what they can to stand with those under attack.

Read the mayor's full statement with more information about planned events:

The City is expressing support for people of Ukraine as they defend their nation against an unjust Russian invasion, Mayor Linda Gorton said. Downtown will be lit in support of peace in Ukraine and residents can attend a downtown Peace Vigil.

The Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission is organizing a Peace Vigil at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 2, at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, 120 North Limestone St. Commission Co-Chair and 11th District Councilmember Jennifer Reynolds is helping organize the event.

“The world is coming together in support of Ukraine, as they fight to defend freedom and democracy,” Gorton said. “The attack on Ukraine is so difficult to watch, and even here in Lexington we want to show our support for those living in the country, but also our region’s residents with direct ties to Ukraine and the region. Lighting up our downtown, and a holding a peace vigil are ways we can join together in support of peace in Ukraine as millions around the world are doing.”

From March 1-5, LexPark will light the Helix Garage, as well as two downtown pedways, in the colors of the Ukrainian flag - blue and yellow. City Center will also light their building in blue and yellow.

“I think it is extremely important we support our international residents living here in Lexington,” Reynolds said. “When one of our European delegates to the Commission expressed concern for the trauma the Ukrainian and European communities are facing, the group agreed to do something to bring people together, and show our deep concern for what is happening in Ukraine. It is easy to feel helpless, and coming together can seem like a small act of solidarity, but in a time of crisis, it’s an opportunity to start somewhere.”

The Peace Vigil will include participation from members of the Lexington region’s Ukrainian community, as well as interfaith leaders. In addition, Commission members are encouraging residents to display support for peace in Ukraine by lighting and decorating their homes in blue and yellow.

The Commission includes individuals with a wide range of international experience who are both foreign and domestic born. It provides information and advice to the Mayor and the Urban County Council on issues affecting foreign-born residents of Fayette County, as well as international issues that affect the community-at-large. Learn more at www.lexingtonky.gov/boards/mayors-internations-affairs-advisory-commission.