A crowd of 600 gathered at Hillsboro’s Old Stone School on Saturday evening for the We Stand with Ukraine concert that raised funds to support those displaced by the Russian invasion.
The event was organized by the Town of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Preservation Foundation.
Some of the area’s most popular bands donated their time to perform, and an art auction raised more than $3,000 that will be distributed to Save the Children and World Central Kitchen, two charities working to aid the more than 4 million refugees who have fled their country and another 6 million who have been displaced by the fighting.
Funds also were raised through food and beverage sales and donations—with a donor pledging to match the total donations up to $5,000. As of Monday, organizers were continuing to receive donations and tallying the results.
In addition to the music, several dignitaries addressed the crowd.
U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton attended as did county supervisors Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), Sylvia Glass (Broad Run), Celeb Kershner (R-Catoctin), Mike Turner (D-Ashburn) and Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg).
“Seeing the images of death and destruction that have been caused by Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked, unjustified and premeditated war of aggression have horrified us all,” Wexton said.
She also noted that, while many residents are offering to send clothing and other supplies to the region, cash donations will have the greatest impact.
“That is not what they really need. What they need is money, because the aid organizations can use that money to buy whatever they need on the ground. The logistics of having to send [donated goods] over to Ukraine is very, very difficult. I encouraged you to dig deep,” she told the crowd.
Nadia McConnell, president of the Ukraine-America Foundation, said the event was reminiscent of life in Ukraine, where residents place an importance on music, food and gathering together.
“I am really touched being here today. You represent the best of America,” she said. “The people of Ukraine are fighting for that treasured freedom they had declared and established 30 years ago. I just have to tell you, the outpouring from people all over the world is so important. I don’t think we have yet really understood what is happening. The people of Ukraine know the people of the world are standing with them.”
Kateryna Smagliy, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, also stressed the importance of the international community’s solidarity with her country.
“I think this week we heard a lot about Putin and all the miscalculations that he made when he decided to invade our peaceful country, which had never threatened Russia. But he deeply miscalculated because he had never imagined that, as Nadia said, we would see this enormous support and solidarity from all over the world,” she said. “I deeply want to thank each and every one of you for being here today. … This solidarity is something that every Ukrainian feels.”
“I made an intentional decision to come and to spend this night with you because I wanted to feel real America, not to spend all my time at my Washington bureau at the embassy writing reports and working on getting other humanitarian other assistance Ukraine needs. I think it is important that we see each other, we understand each other, that we speak to each other and we understand each other better,” Smagliy said.
Although the stage featured some of the county’s most popular performers, the closing numbers performed by students—billed together as Young Voices for Peace—proved to be among the most memorable.