On Monday, February 28, members of the university community took to the steps of the Kimel University Life Center to express support for Ukraine.
More than 400 members of the New York University community stood on the steps of the Kimmel University Life Center to take part in the vigil for Ukraine on Monday, February 28. Students leaned over the railings and peered out the windows to hear students and faculty discuss the Russian invasion and how it affected their lives.
The vigil, organized by New York University administration, student government and student affairs, global spiritual life and global inclusion, diversity and strategic innovation, took place after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February.
“It’s sad, it’s unfair and pointless,” said Ron Hall, junior of CAS and vice chairman of the New York University Student Government’s Presidents Council, regarding the invasion. “The voices of Ukrainian students and Russian students during this time are in the spotlight, see what they need and do their best to ensure it.”
CAS Chairwoman Finley Muratov, the event’s first student speaker, told the crowd about her 85-year-old Ukrainian aunt Nina, who grew up during the Nazi occupation and was recently cured of COVID-19. Muratova said it was difficult to contact her as the conflict with Russia escalated. (Muratova is a former WSN employee.)
“Nina, who survived the Nazi occupation, may not survive Putin’s,” Muratova said. “Ukraine has already lost nearly 400 of its civilians as a result of Putin’s unprovoked, undesirable war. And tomorrow Nina can become a part of this statistic – this statistic, which includes someone’s parents, someone’s siblings, someone’s children, someone’s love for life. “
Muratova called on the crowd to continue to oppose the war, donate resources and provide assistance in any way. They specifically called on Russian citizens to continue to oppose the war, as its victims include Russian citizens and the military.
GSAS educator and citizen of Ukraine Marina Prikhodko called on the crowd to express solidarity with her native country. She described the situation of her friend, a former New York University student who lives in a bomb shelter near a nuclear power plant in Ukraine and has limited access to water, electricity and internet. The parishioner said that her friend was taking iodine pills to protect herself from possible radiation exposure.
“Good words and words of support are not enough now,” Prikhodko said. “We need to turn to our government and tell them to support Ukraine now financially and militarily. Impose tough sanctions on Russia and impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, because that is the only way to save millions of Ukrainian lives now. ”
Wagner’s graduate student Martin Branowski, a Pole and chairman of the executive board of the right-wing Libertarian organization Students for Liberty North America, said the war was fueled by Putin’s fears that people of different backgrounds could not coexist.
“Putin and others like him are trying to make us believe that we cannot resolve our differences, that we cannot live next to others who look or speak differently, with whom we share different stories,” Branovsky said. “But this city and this university show how wrong this idea is.”
Melissa Carter, interim senior director for global spiritual life, offered resources and support to students and faculty. She referred students struggling in every way to the health exchange, to spiritual life counselors, and to any staff member attending the vigil.
«Now the energy of domination, greed and hatred threatens to upset our common humanity, ”Carter said. “But I believe that the energy of hope and love is stronger. You are also witnessing protests of solidarity around the world, acts of charity, unity and self-sacrifice. “
Protests took place across New York last week calling for ending the invasion and supporting the citizens of Ukraine. Students and faculty joined a demonstration in Washington Square Park, where the Russian Club of New York University held a fundraiser and information stand on Ukraine.
The Student Government Assembly and NYU Abu Dhabi Student Government published statements against the Russian invasion. President Andrew Hamilton affected the invasion of Ukraine during a University Senate meeting on February 24 and later published a statement Feb. 28 providing resources to support those from the university community affected.
«Remember that people of Ukrainian descent feel a special burden, ”Hamilton wrote to the community. “We turned to them to provide various resources and support. We must make special efforts to be generous and patient with each other at this time. And we all need to remember that this dispute is with the Russian government, not with Russian students, faculty, or staff at New York University. ”
The service ended with a minute of silence for those who died or were forced to flee Ukraine as a result of the conflict. Branowski said he continued to check on his loved ones in Europe, watching the news closely and protesting.
“Let’s show the world that democracy is not only alive, but it will only get stronger,” Branovsky said. “So keep marching through the streets, keep uniting those around you, keep tweeting, keep donating, keep fighting.”
Contact Isabella Tapia at [email protected]