The Rally for Ukraine: One Year Later

On Feb. 24 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, a steep escalation of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War which started in 2014. What Russian officials thought would be an overwhelming military campaign with a swift victory turned into a long and drawn out war, with high casualties on both sides and millions of displaced refugees. Exactly one year later, rallies were held across the United States to show support for Ukranians. One of such demonstrations was held at the Hawaii State Capitol, planned by the organization Hawaiʻi Stands With Ukraine. Ukrainian students here at ‘Iolani have also been involved in planning the rally. Posters were put up around campus for the rally to spread awareness, and a large number of students participated in the event to show support for their Ukrainian classmates.

The rally took place on a cloudy Friday afternoon at the Hawai‘i State Capitol. It was a strong display of national pride and solidarity, with Ukranian and Hawaiian flags flying side by side as the attendants marched around the capitol. Even as it started to pour, signs and flags were held up proudly. One rally attendee remarked how everyone at the rally could dry off from the rain when they went home, unlike many in Ukraine who no longer have homes to return to. After returning to the front of the capitol building, attendees sang the Ukrainian national anthem in a beautiful display of unity. There was then a moment of silence to honor all those who had been lost in the war. The rally was closed off by speeches given by attendees and a special prayer for Ukraine. Attendees continued to hang around the capitol building, waving their signs to drivers honking in support and viewing the “365 Days of War” photo display.

Ania L. ’24 was one of the ‘Iolani students who helped plan the rally. Having left her home in central Ukraine three days after the war began to help refugees in Poland, the war has changed her life greatly. Ania stressed the importance of showing support for Ukrainians, even across the world in Hawai‘i. She said, “They don’t really realize why rallies are important. You’re just showing up and holding a poster to support the war in Ukraine. But you are showing the world that people care about it.” When asked about how she got involved with the rally, she talked about how she had been looking for ways to support her country despite being in Hawai‘i. She said, “I was searching up rallies in Honolulu. I heard that there were rallies when the war started, and I found this organization, Hawai‘i Stands With Ukraine… I just messaged them and the leader of the organization replied within several hours. I learned that she was going to organize a rally and I suggested to help her.” Thanks to Ania and ‘Iolani students Liza K. ’25 and Yana L. ’23, ‘Iolani students and other members of the community were able to show their support for the people of Ukraine.