Brenda Hammond, BCHRTF President, recently attended a rally to support Ukraine. This is the article she contributed to the Reader.
To see it online, with a photo, click here. It's on page 11.
Inspired and following the leadership of Grace Rookey, a Sandpoint High School
Sophomore, 70 people gathered together on March 6 for a peaceful event along the
bike path between Michigan and Superior in Sandpoint. People were holding
sunflowers, signs that said, “ Stand with Ukraine,” and many were dressed in blue
and yellow. Sunshine added to the bright colors-- making up for the heavy hearts.
There were dozens of honks and thumbs-up from people driving by.
The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force (BCHRTF) was the group that Rookey
reached out to, stating that she was “seriously concerned about everything that is
happening in Ukraine” and that she wanted to do something to help. Linda Navarre,
long time BCHRTF Board member and retired middle school teacher, took this to
heart—and saw this as an opportunity for people who felt like Grace, to gather and
express their solidarity and support. The BCHRTF quickly moved into action and
supported with sign making, and outreach.
On March 6, people gathered to show support for the people of Ukraine – and to
take a stand against the violence and oppression of their invasion by Russia. Some
also spoke about the importance of acknowledging the injustice in many other
countries like Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Ethiopia. There was an
awareness that as we stand in solidarity, we must remember to care about the
humanity and lives of all people regardless of their race, ethnic origin, nationality,
education, or social class background. Brenda Hammond, BCHRTF Co-President
stated: “The smiles and camaraderie shown by the people who gathered together
indicate how good it feels to take a stand against conditions that are intolerable. And
it’s an example of how much energy is generated when empathy is really shown for
The news is filled with images of heroic Ukrainians standing strong, proving that the
real power lies not in the number of soldiers you have, but in the strength of the
citizens who come together. Carrie Clayton, BCHRTF Board member, stated when
asked how Sandpoint could be stronger together: “What we are seeing happening
in Ukraine is devastating. It is also an important reminder that we must be citizens,
communities, neighbors, that know, care, love and respect each other, because
strong, caring communities can overcome almost anything when they are
protecting the places and people they love.”.
While standing in solidarity helped those who attended this event to help overcome
feelings of helplessness and despair—there are other things we can do as well.
This list came directly from a Ukrainian citizen who has now lived through 14 days of
● Spend time reading about the war in Ukraine, it is not stopping yet and I know
it is hard to keep track, but please take some time to follow the independent
media and get informed.
● Use your voice and your platform to openly condemn the Russian war against
Ukraine. Don't blame Putin for all of this, saying that it's Putin's war.
Unfortunately, the regime stands on the backs of many-many people,
including the ones walking around my country right now killing people and
the ones giving them orders to shoot at nuclear power plants. The
international support so far has been amazing, but we need to keep stepping
● Help Ukrainians refugees get a job, a shelter or help fund humanitarian
supplies. Donate to our fund "Come back alive" which supports Ukrainian