By Ben Olivo | @rbolivo | Heron editor
Several dozen supporters of local Ukrainian Americans attended a benefit concert at Hemisfair on Thursday night. The lineup included more seasoned performers, such as San Antonio’s Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, and others who dusted off the guitar or vocal cords to show their support.
The event, organized by Adam Tutor, executive director of the nonprofit San Antonio Sound Garden, was the latest fundraiser for Ukrainian San Antonio, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 2015 “whose mission is to preserve Ukrainian heritage and promote a greater understanding of Ukrainian.”
Lately, since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 22, the group has been collecting medical supplies for the war effort back home.
“It’s very important for us being Ukrainians here that we’re not alone, just two, three, four of us fighting,” Viktonya Lundblade said Thursday night. “And also to send videos and pictures to our friends in Ukraine that they are not alone, that people support them.”
The musicians played a variety of songs, some originals and others more well-known such as “Lean on Me” and “Let It Be” next to CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery. A table was set up with a tip jar, and a homemade flag in blue and gold that said “Close the Sky.”
“It’s difficult for us. We’re sad, we’re crying. It’s difficult for us to see people smiling around and having their lives going the way it was before because for our country, it’s not that way anymore,” Olenka Bravo said.
“We understand Americans live their lives, but we want more and more and more Americans to understand who we are, what’s going on, and what we’re fighting for. We want Americans to see our faces, that we are real people, we are educated people, that we work, that we go to college, we pay our taxes, we are Americans now.”
Visit ukrainiansanantonio.com for info on how to donate.
Heron Editor Ben Olivo has been writing about downtown San Antonio since 2008, first for mySA.com, then for the San Antonio Express-News. He co-founded the Heron in 2018, and can be reached at 210-421-3932 | firstname.lastname@example.org | @rbolivo on Twitter