May 12, 2017

Ukraine Freedom March set for May 20 in Washington

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PARSIPPANY, N.J. – A “Ukraine Freedom March” is set to take place on May 20 in Washington. The march, officially known as “Once in a Generation: Ukraine Freedom March,” is organized by Ukrainian American activists, led by Ed Skibicki, a Ukrainian American of Lemko origin.

The march – with a full police escort – is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at the Washington Monument and conclude at the Holodomor Memorial, near Union Station, where a vigil is to be held, concluding at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Among the invited guest speakers are analyst Paul Goble, Peter Borisow, president of the Hollywood Trident Foundation; other noted Ukraine advocates are expected and, at the time of writing, were still being confirmed, among them Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly. Clergy from the Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic Churches, as well as leaders of the Jewish and Muslim faiths in Ukraine have been invited to properly represent the people of Ukraine.

As stated by Mr. Skibicki: “We demand that the Russian-backed terrorists immediately vacate the Donbas region and that Crimea be returned to Ukraine. If these demands are not met, we insist on the American government to stick to its promise made in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which is to provide the full and immediate defense of Ukraine by providing modern defensive weapons in order to help the Ukrainian people restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We are NOT calling for American troops to be deployed to Ukraine.”

From the Holodomor Memorial, marchers will proceed to the Victims of Communism Memorial, where they will be joined by members of the Baltic Conference (which is being held in Washington on May 19-20, hosted by the Joint Baltic American Committee).

From there, marchers will break off for dinner before a film screening of “Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine” by three-time Academy Award-winning director Mark Jonathan Harris at The Miracle Theater (located at 535 Eighth St. SE; telephone, 202-400-3210; website, www.themiracletheatre.com). More information about the film appears below.

During the film screening, a panel discussion and Q&A will be held. Mr. Harris, producer Mr. Borisow and producer/writer Paul Wolansky are expected to address questions moderated by Mr. Skibicki. Tickets for the film screening may be purchased for $15 (+$1.75 processing fee) via http://breakingpointmovieoncapitolhill.ticketleap.com/.

A package deal being offered for $30 includes a commemorative T-shirt and film screening ticket. The T-shirts are also available for purchase individually for $20. Those who already purchased tickets will be offered a discounted price on the T-shirt, $15.

Marchers are encouraged to bring flags from all countries, especially Ukraine and Crimean Tatar flags. Please be advised that placards should have a message that supports Ukraine, rather than denigrate any other people. As a guide, organizers encourage the message #UkraineMatters Now.

Organizers call on readers to: 1) share the event via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc); 2) organize sister marches in your own city; 3) become Facebook page event hosts to each invite 500 users to the event; 4) donate to Kristen Skibicki, kris10skib@gmail.com, to offset costs of the demonstration (donations are accepted via Paypal, please differentiate ticket purchases and donations); and 5) contact congressperson and senators, and invite them to the march or to the film screening.

Similar marches and demonstrations are being organized in three other U.S. cities, including San Diego, Naples, Fla., and Phoenix. Readers who cannot come to Washington and would like to organize a sister march on the same day in their own city can get more information by visiting the website https://us.eventbu.com/city/oiagukrainianfreedommarch/2106154. For those living near San Diego, Mira Shtefanyak is organizing that march and she can be reached via e-mail at Mirkav@yahoo.com.