Yale rallies in support of Ukraine, convenes in peace

In a pair of events Sunday, members of the Yale and greater New Haven communities rallied for the people of Ukraine.
Photos by Dan Renzetti

In a pair of events Sunday, members of the Yale and greater New Haven communities rallied for the people of Ukraine as they fend off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military attack on their nation, which began last week.

A crowd estimated to be in the hundreds gathered on Cross Campus at 2 p.m. for a student-organized rally that included speeches by Yale students, including several Ukrainian citizens, as well as by Yale faculty and major Connecticut political figures. Yale President Peter Salovey, who spoke at a vigil later in the afternoon, joined in the rally.

Over roughly an hour, speakers addressed the current military situation, the history behind the conflict, the Ukrainian-American perspective, and, powerfully, the experience of Ukrainians at Yale in recent days. Yuliia Zhukovets ’23, a junior in Franklin College from Ukraine and the rally’s chief organizer, described watching from New Haven as the terrifying events have unfolded in her country.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who represents the New Haven area, and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker all spoke, expressing support for the people of Ukraine.

Cheers and chants, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and the scent of flowers contributed to an atmosphere of camaraderie, hope, and determination, observers said. See above for a slideshow of the rally.

Afterward, at a 5 p.m. online vigil for peace, Salovey, Secretary and Vice President for University Life Kimberly Goff-Crews, Zhukovets, and University Chaplain Sharon Kugler addressed a broad cross-section of people from the Yale community, offering reflections, commitments of support for the members of the Yale community most affected by the war underway in Ukraine, and an opportunity to share a moment of silence.

At Yale, we are compelled by our common sense of humanity to reject this violence in the strongest terms,” President Salovey said. “We stand for peace.”

Read Salovey’s full remarks.

Zhukovets struck a positive note, emphasizing the success to date of her people in repelling the attack and expressing gratitude for her own safety in New Haven. But she also spoke frankly of the millions of people in Ukraine who are not so lucky, who are spending their “days and nights” in bomb shelters.

From thousands of miles away, she said, “I’m trying to do everything I can.”

This means a lot to me,” she said of the vigil, “this means a lot to my family.”

Yale is planning additional events for the week ahead.

Watch and hear the vigil here.

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