Updated: October 2, 2022
More than 70 people gathered this morning at the Kalana O Maui Building in Wailuku as Maui Mayor Michael Victorino proclaimed today as Ukraine Solidarity Day throughout the County of Maui.
His proclamation was followed by an emotional flag raising ceremony accompanied by Ukraine’s national anthem, “Shche new vmerla Ukrarina.” The mayor vowed to keep the Ukrainian flag flying alongside the flags of the USA and Hawaiʻi until the war ends. Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
“This was an important gathering for our community,” said Mayor Victorino. “Not many people know that Ukrainians came to Hawaiʻi as contract laborers during the early 1900’s, so we share that plantation heritage.”
Following a Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Wayne Higa, Mayor Victorino, Maui County Council Chair Alice Lee, Managing Director Sandy Baz, Councilmember Yuki-Lei Sugimura and Maui County First Lady Joycelyn Victorino shared heartfelt messages of empathy and support for the Ukrainian people.
Yulya Labrosse, a Ukrainian who moved to Maui in 2005, accepted the proclamation on behalf of the island’s small, close-knit Ukrainian community.
“People might think we can’t make a difference because Maui is so far away from Ukraine,” said Labrosse, “But we will send video and photos of this to our friends and family in Ukraine and they will share it with others. The support matters a lot to them, it lifts their morale.”
The Kalana O Maui Building will be lit in blue and yellow tonight, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, as part of the solidarity event.
Maui County residents seeking to help the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian war refugees may donate to the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund at www.globalgiving.org/projects/ukraine-crisis-relief-fund/