TULSA, Okla — Community members gathered in downtown Tulsa to show their support for Ukraine.
The event was held at the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, and the plaza was filled with people from all over the area including some that drove in from out of town. The support rally lasted two hours with multiple speakers sharing their views on the situation.
They explained why locals should care and the impact this has on both individuals and the country as a whole.
The organizer, Emily DelGrosso, put the event together to show support for her friend who is Ukrainian-American. She also wanted to show other local Ukrainian-American's that Tulsa stands with them.
“I’ve had a few Ukrainian-Americans reach out that recently migrated that don’t have any connections locally and so they are really excited for the opportunity to meet other people who can relate to them and what they’re going through. I think that will be really great not only for today but for the future to establish those relationships and connection," DelGrosso said.
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Reed Lagrone attended the rally. He has friends in Ukraine like many other Tulsans who showed up Saturday in solidarity with Ukraine.
“The bombing needs to stop... My friend Yana. Her mom is still in Kyiv right now and I can’t imagine how distressing that would be,” Lagrone said.
He’s not alone in that feeling.
“It’s really easy to feel powerless and hopeless with things as big as countries having war and I was definitely in that position," DelGrosso said.
But she hopes that changed with this rally as they were passing out flyers encouraging people to donate to organizations that support Ukraine and reaching out to lawmakers, “call and email our legislatures to request the things that can be done,” DelGrosso said.
They’re calling on lawmakers to provide military support to Ukraine, increase sanctions that target Russian oligarchs and advocate for the creation of a missile shield over Ukraine.
“Colorado was able to impose their own statewide sanctions so I was hoping something like that could happen in Oklahoma," Nicole Miller said. "Maybe there was something we could restrict on a state level. If every state could do that, I think it would make such a difference. I don’t think that there is anything too small. I think everyone can affect something in some way.”
Miller, also an organizer of the rally, is Ukrainian-American with family and friends still in Ukraine.
She says while the rally encourages her, her emotions are a roller coaster ride.
“I am feeling better today but tomorrow could be absolutely terrible so it’s just ups and downs all over the place,” Miller said.
While we might be experiencing higher prices because of the war, Reed Lagrone says there’s another reason you should care.
“Remember what it feels like to be a person and then look at what’s happening on the news and ‘go oh well those are people too. I should feel wrong about that’ because that’s wrong,” Lagrone said.
Organizers aren’t sure if they’ll hold another rally, but they tell us they will continue supporting and fundraising because the fight doesn’t stop after just one event.
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