The moment Lena and I walked out of the alley and headed to the CTA station, a person on the other side of the street cheered us and asked where the rally would be. In the Loop, we were pleasantly surprised by a huge turnaround. The number of people who responded as interested in the event was less than 200. Still, we saw people with flags and signs everywhere (also going in different directions, which was confusing). Since we had to meet Anna at the train station, we were in the Loop ahead of the rally, but we still met people who stopped us and asked in Russian or English where exactly things were going to be.
t turned out that there were multiple gathering places and marching before the rally. We went to the Bean, marched with people there, and headed to the Daley Plaza.
We were interviewed during the rally, and the piece was shown on ABC 7. At one moment, it felt like we did something good and helpful, but it’s almost nothing in the big scheme of things.
What made me feel better was our encounter with an older lady when we exited the march after the rally. The policeman was very helpful and halted the traffic to let us cross where there was no crossing. This older lady asked us in Russian: will I get to the other side here? We told her – yes, follow us!
And then she started to talk to us (mainly in Russian with a bit of Ukrainian): Thank you! Thank you for coming out! You are Russians, right? You are Russian, and you still came out to support us! Thank you! Thank you! And then she talked about her children, donating huge sums of money to Ukraine, how they worry and can’t sleep at night, and how more money will be needed when the wounded will fill the hospitals… We said – of course, how could we not be out there?
And just to make sure to note, that it was not Chicago only – this event happened in Palatine on Thursday, along with selling pirogi with all proceedings going to the Ukrainian Army.