‘Helpless’ Inland Empire residents rally for Ukraine, plead for peace – San Bernardino Sun

Riverside children are getting ready to record a video singing, “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

Later the same day — Saturday, March 5 — southwest Riverside County residents plan to hoist sunflowers and candles to show their support for the Ukrainian people in Temecula.

On Sunday, March 6, activists intend to gather on a Claremont street corner to rally for peace in Ukraine. Then on Tuesday, March 8, a Grammy-winning Cal Poly Pomona music professor and pianist is poised to perform in a live-streamed concert to raise money for medical supplies, food and shelter for those who have been injured and displaced by war.

Chamber Music | OC is putting on the virtual benefit concert and violinist Iryna Krechkovsky, the group’s co-founder, helped organize it. She grew up in the western Ukraine city of Ivano-Frankivsk.

“Like many people, I feel helpless,” Krechkovsky said. “I am obviously safe here. But I am so clearly tied to my roots, and I have family and friends in Ukraine. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the suffering.”

The devastation is driving many to action.

“My heart hurts,” said Sherian Spencer, moderator for United Church of the Valley in Murrieta.

As Russia sent tanks deep into Ukraine and relentlessly dropped bombs on its cities, Spencer made plans for a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Temecula Duck Pond.

“Quite frankly, I just felt like I needed to do something,” she said. “There is only so much I can do from this far away, so I have to do what I can.”

In addition to solemnly calling for peace with candles and sunflowers — Ukraine’s national flower — a member of her church will speak.

It was the images of Ukrainian children that tugged at Nové Deypalan‘s heart.

More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine since the bombs started falling, and UNICEF estimates half a million children are now refugees in neighboring countries.

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