On Thursday evening, more than 200 people gathered at The Westdale theatre for the “Hamilton Helps Ukraine” event, a fundraiser supporting the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and its humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Presented by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Hamilton, the fundraiser featured a documentary called “Hunger for Truth: The Rhea Clyman Story,” about a young journalist from Toronto who risked her life to expose the Ukrainian Holomodor genocide in the 1930s at the hands of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin’s communist regime.
The heartbreaking and eye-opening documentary was produced by the Canada-Ukraine Foundation Holodomor National Awareness Tour, which aims to bring awareness of the Holodomor genocide to Canadians.
The Holodomor was a famine genocide that killed millions of people in Ukraine between 1932 and 1933.
Following the screening of the documentary, there was open dialogue about the similarities between the Holodomor under Stalin and the current war in Ukraine under Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mary Holadyk, vice president of the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress of Hamilton, says the event was not only to raise money for humanitarian aid but to come together as a community ahead of the arrival of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
“It’s support for the cause, for Ukraine and for the community as well, because we now have immigrants and newcomers to Hamilton,” Holadyk says, “this is important for them too, because they see the city is welcoming, the city is trying.”
A total of $5,890 was raised for the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and its humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
The evening also featured traditional Ukrainian music and song from local musicians Zenon Holadyk on the accordion and singer Marichka Duncan.
Closing the evening was the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem, a song that has come to represent the hope and resilience of the Ukrainian people, of the tribulations they have faced and continue to face today.