Water tower rally for Ukraine: ‘We won’t let them down’

Barely a month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of Chicagoans have again rallied in solidarity with Ukraine and called for continued US support for the beleaguered nation.

Dozens of blue and yellow Ukrainian flags waved above a crowd of hundreds of people standing at the foot of the water tower as community leaders and politicians gave speeches from the top of the stairs.

“These people are trying in every way possible to preserve their families, their homes and their love of Ukraine,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “Can we do anything but stand here on a cool day, in the sun, in a peaceful setting and affirm our solidarity with the same cause? No. We must be united.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was among speakers at a rally on Sunday, March 27, 2022 to show support for Ukraine.  The crowd gathered at the water tower, then marched to <a class=Millennium Park.” srcset=”https://cst.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/c106b6e/2147483647/strip/true/crop/5337×3558+0+0/resize/840×560!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fthumbor%2Fxhk9fiEoM0WT9HS9bXamCX6JheI%3D%2F0x0%3A5337x3558%2F5337x3558%2Ffilters%3Afocal%282669×1779%3A2670x1780%29%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fuploads%2Fchorus_asset%2Ffile%2F23349189%2Fmerlin_104822782.jpg 1x,https://cst.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/13c7508/2147483647/strip/true/crop/5337×3558+0+0/resize/1680×1120!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fthumbor%2Fxhk9fiEoM0WT9HS9bXamCX6JheI%3D%2F0x0%3A5337x3558%2F5337x3558%2Ffilters%3Afocal%282669×1779%3A2670x1780%29%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fuploads%2Fchorus_asset%2Ffile%2F23349189%2Fmerlin_104822782.jpg 2x” width=”840″ height=”560″ src=”https://cst.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/c106b6e/2147483647/strip/true/crop/5337×3558+0+0/resize/840×560!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fthumbor%2Fxhk9fiEoM0WT9HS9bXamCX6JheI%3D%2F0x0%3A5337x3558%2F5337x3558%2Ffilters%3Afocal%282669×1779%3A2670x1780%29%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fuploads%2Fchorus_asset%2Ffile%2F23349189%2Fmerlin_104822782.jpg” data-lazy-load=”true” bad-src=”data:image/svg+xml;base64,PHN2ZyB4bWxucz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy53My5vcmcvMjAwMC9zdmciIHZlcnNpb249IjEuMSIgaGVpZ2h0PSI1NjBweCIgd2lkdGg9Ijg0MHB4Ij48L3N2Zz4=”/>

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was among speakers at a rally Sunday to show support for Ukraine. The crowd gathered at the water tower, then marched to Millennium Park.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., of Ukrainian descent, also pledged her support when she addressed the crowd.

“I understand you want more, we all want more, we want to see Vladimir Putin defeated once and for all,” Schakowsky said.

Participant Larissa Iwankiw, whose sister and other family members are in Ukraine, said she would continue to run for Ukraine until the end of the war.

“We won’t forget and we won’t stop,” said Iwankiw, 65. “I grew up here, I went to Ukrainian school, I go to a Ukrainian church, our children speak both [Ukrainian and English]. Just because we’re here doesn’t mean we’ll ever forget. We will not abandon them.

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., spoke out against President Vladimir Putin at a rally Sunday to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The gathering took place at the Water Tower on the Gold Coast.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Serhiy Koledov, Consul General of Ukraine in Chicago, called on the US government and NATO to help Ukraine by establishing a no-fly zone over the country, providing military planes and tanks, cutting remaining economic ties with Russia, etc.

“Russian forces may continue to kill thousands of our citizens, destroying our cities,” Koledov said. “Further actions must be taken immediately.”

U.S. Representative Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Ald also spoke at the rally. Brian Hopkins (2nd).

Hopkins, whose voters include residents of Chicago’s Ukrainian Village community, told the crowd to continue to hold themselves and other politicians accountable.

“Patience in the face of mass murder would be madness,” Hopkins said. “Patience, while innocent children are being killed, would be unacceptable.”

The group marched from the water tower, through the loop and to Millennium Park, chanting “shut down the sky”, “the United States supports Ukraine”, among other things.

At the end of the rally, the Ukrainian national anthem sounded in the park. Protesters sang in unison as blue and yellow smoke enveloped the Cloud Gate sculpture.

Smoke in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, filled the air as the Ukrainian national anthem was sung in Millennium Park on Sunday.

Smoke in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, filled the air as the Ukrainian national anthem was sung in Millennium Park on Sunday.