Ukrainian UToledo student holds rally supporting her home country

Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 10:54 AM EST

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Students and local residents gathered at the University of Toledo on Thursday to show support and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian citizens.

The rally was organized by Alona Matchenko, a Ukrainian-born law student. She was pleased with the turnout at the rally but alarmed by the worsening situation in her home country.

“Even though I am very happy that everyone is here, and I am excited to talk and encourage people to help Ukraine. I am still internally very shaken inside knowing that my parents are trying to get to the border safely with minor children,” Matchenko said Thursday.

On Friday, the University of Toledo released an update to 13abc that Matchenko’s family had successfully fled Ukraine and made it to Poland, despite the hardships the journey imposed. Matchenko said she is now feeling some relief.

People showed up in numbers wearing blue and yellow and creating signs.

“It’s not just Toledo, but it’s all those little towns across Ohio, across the nation that are really coming together to show support,” says Emily Marzari, a 3rd-year Physics student. “It’s showing Ukraine you don’t just have Washington, Dc support, or L.A Support. You have the small working-class standing up for you.”

Tatiana Burns was born in Ukraine, she says this war is opening closed wounds for the eastern European nation.

“This is the second time in 100 years that the Russians are trying to commit genocide against Ukraine,” Burns says.

But Burns adds that the Ukrainian people have hearts of warriors.

“Resilient, very brave. And they just want to defend their country. They are just fighting for independence,” says Burns.

To join the Ukrainian Toledo Facebook group, click here. To join the Toledo Helps Ukraine Facebook group, click here.

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