The Kearney International Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato hosted the walk for peace protest on Wednesday at the mall outside the Centennial Student Union. The event highlighted the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine as well as addressed the impacts of war in other parts of the world.
Attendees, including MSU students and faculty who gathered to show their support and use their voice to raise awareness about the events currently unfolding in Ukraine.
The protest provided an avenue for students on campus to peacefully march and publicly voice their opinions on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia that began on the morning of Feb. 24, 2022.
Participants in the march held anti-war posters and spoke on the realities of war and the suffering caused by it.
Majd Alharbi, a sophomore here at MSU, was one of the organizers of the protest. Speaking to the attendees Alharbi summarized the current situation in Ukraine and spoke on the consequences of war.
“We know what’s happening in Ukraine. There’s violence, genocide, suffering, injustice, children dying, families separating, and homes destroyed. It is hard to hear, hard to say yet it is happening right now as we speak,” said Alharbi.
Adding to the issue of war, Alharbi further used the opportunity to highlight ongoing wars and conflicts around the globe.
“Unfortunately, war is not just happening in Ukraine. It’s happening in places like Palestine and Ethiopia and in over 30 countries all over the world,” voiced Alharbi. “We are here raising awareness for all the people that are suffering everywhere.”
A minute of silence was also observed during the protest for those that have perished and those that are currently suffering as a consequence of war.
Darria Hozhenko, an international student from Ukraine, was also in attendance. Hozhenko paid homage to her homeland and showed her love and admiration for her country.
“My name is Ukraine. I am only 30 but my roots are strong, expanding deep into history. All the past years have cultivated in me a love of freedom and a desire to be free but now war has fallen on us. Forces are trying to destroy our freedom and crush it forever,” added Hozhenko. “Today we fight, we are not afraid. We will stand, and I know my wounds will heal, and my people will live peaceful lives again”.
The Russia and Ukraine conflict has been overwhelming for both communities on campus with the sudden onslaught disrupting many lives while bringing emotional distress.
Students on campus can show their support and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian community in numerous ways.
“If you want to help you can donate. If you can’t donate you can sign a petition. You can spread information about Ukraine with friends and family. If you can’t do that then you can just pray for Ukraine,” added Hozhenko.
Header Photo: After a night of non-stop rain, MSU students marched around the Centennial Student Union Mall protesting war worldwide while shedding light on the recent events in Ukraine. (Mansoor Ahmad/The Reporter)
Write to Hafsa Peerzada at Syedahafsa.Peerzada@mnsu.edu