Nearly 80-year-old Vicki Ryder stood on the sidewalk of Peace and Justice Square on Franklin Street on Sunday, waving a sign calling for peace in Ukraine.
Dozens of other people carrying signs surrounded her in the square. Ryder, whose grandparents are Ukrainians, said she has seen war and Ukraine’s participation in war for most of her life.
“We know he never fixed a single problem – it just makes it worse,” Ryder said. “So we are here to say that we would like to see common sense prevail, that the Russian troops should withdraw and that they and the Ukrainians find a way to live as neighbors.”
Ryder was one of the organizers of a peace vigil that took place on Sunday afternoon.
Members of more than 10 organizations in the Triangle region, including the local Veterans for Peace chapter, Voices for Justice in Palestine and the Triangle branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, came together to offer their support and solidarity to Ukraine.
They lined Franklin Street from its intersection with Henderson Street to Columbia Street. Participants held handmade signs calling for peace. Passing cars honked their horns in response to the many signs reading “Honk for Peace.”
Their peace vigil was prompted by calls for a global day of action on March 6 to end the war in Ukraine, according to Lucy Lewis, one of the organizers of the event.
Vicki Ryder’s grandparents are from Ukraine, she said.
His heart breaks for the suffering people are facing. But she added that it was also important to think about the more limited media coverage and widespread solidarity around other similar events in recent history. She specifically noted Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria.
“I think we have to ask ourselves, what’s different this time around?” she says. “And I think we all know the answer. And part of it has to do with the skin color of the sufferers. The same day Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States bombed Somalia. Crickets.
Douglas Ryder, another of the vigil organizers and a leader of the local Veterans for Peace chapter, is a Vietnam veteran.
He said he had seen enough of the war.
“We need to look for citizens to overcome complacency and get involved and demand our government,” Ryder said.
Chapel Hill City Council member Paris Miller-Foushee who attended the vigil said the vigil represents the kind of solidarity and coming together we need as a global community.
“Being on Franklin Street, a very important place in the Chapel Hill city space, reminds those going through their usual day on a beautiful Sunday that some people don’t just see blue skies like we do,” Miller-Foushee says. . “They face bombs.”
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