Fort St. James seniors gathered at the seniors’ centre on Sunday (March 27) flying Ukrainian flags and calling for an end to Russia’s ongoing invasion of the Eastern European country.
75-year-old Bernie Godin, who organized the event, said he could no longer sit on the sidelines watching the carnage unfold on the news. He wanted to do something about it.
“I’ve been planning for a couple of weeks to get a group of people together. I made a bunch of Ukrainian flags and we’re gathering to show our support for the Ukrainian people,” Godin said.
“I’m not Ukrainian but we just can’t all just say, ‘I’ll watch it on TV but it’s not my problem’ when you see them bombing schools and hospitals. It’s really depressing to see that monster [Russian President Vladimir Putin] doing stuff like that to people for no reason.”
Godin was also inspired by local artist Pat Gauthier’s work to raise money for Ukrainians and decided to incorporate fundraising at the event.
Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation donated yellow and blue ribbons, Gauthier sold artwork and they raised a combined $350. Funds will be donated to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Unimpressed by recent Trucker Convoy inspired protests in town Godin also wanted to retake the Canadian flag, flown right-side-up, as a positive symbol.
Godin said it’s important as Canadians to care about what happens in the world beyond our borders — to get involved and help out where we can.
“We’re so lucky to have a country like Canada. I can’t sit idly by and watch all the horror that’s happening in Ukraine and not try to make a difference or care about the people there.”