CHICAGO – The last weekend of August was filled with celebration here as the Ukrainian community marked the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s renewed independence.
The festivities began on August 27 with the raising of the Ukrainian flag in Chicago’s Daley Plaza by members of Post 32 of the Ukrainian American Veterans. The flag was raised alongside the flags of the United States and the city of Chicago.
The program, arranged by Oksana Chuyko, was organized by members of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America-Illinois Division (UCCA-Ill.) and the Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago.
The celebratory program featured Olha Tsvyntarna, Vyshyvanka Dance Ensemble, the vocal and dance group Elegy and the young violinist Yulia Perohozhuk.
A prayer was led by Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Chicago. Remarks were delivered by UCCA-Ill. President Ihor Diaczun, Consul General of Ukraine in Chicago Serhiy Koledov and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.
Adrienne Tongate, executive director of Chicago Sister Cities International, read a proclamation on Ukrainian independence from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
The Ukrainian community of Chicago welcomed honored guests from Dnipro, Ukraine, among them Mayor Borys Filatov, Director of the Department of Economics and Investment Policy Natalia Chernishova and Secretary of the City Council Sanzhara Oleksandr. Pavlo Bandriwsky served as master of ceremonies for the celebration.
On August 29, 67 Ukrainian community civic organizations, as well as 17 churches/parishes, members of the Chicago Association of Crimean Tatars, Belarusians in Chicago and members of the Polish community came together to participate in the first Ukrainian parade along Chicago Avenue.
Guests included U.S. Reps. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.); Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago Wolfgang Moessinger; and Ms. Pappas.
Following the parade, Serhiy (Foma) Fomenko and Olha Tsventarna concluded the weekend celebrations with a selection of Ukrainian melodies. Marta Farion and Anatolii Konovaliuk served as masters of ceremonies for the parade.
On August 28, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago, members of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Bloomingdale, Ill., hosted a gala concert and an ecumenical prayer of thanksgiving for the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
Members of UCCA-Ill. also expressed their gratitude to all of the events’ sponsors, as well as to the celebrations’ main sponsors: Selfreliance Federal Credit Union, Heritage Foundation and DVL Express.
Maria Korkatsch-Groszko, Ph.D., is vice-president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America-Illinois Division.