With issues as large as Russia invading Ukraine, it's easy to feel helpless. But the Hudson Valley has responded firmly, loudly, and thoughtfully in support of a nation that has been attacked by a country over 30 times its size. Some acts are symbolic, while others, like the decision in Albany to cut investment ties with Russia, are more concrete. Check out everything the Hudson Valley, and New York State as a whole, has recently done to remind Ukraine that they are not alone.

Sunflowers Everywhere

Many of us learned this week that the national flower of Ukraine is the sunflower. In fact, Ukraine is the largest exporter of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil in the entire world. Since the Russian invasion began, many people have been spreading images of sunflowers in support of peace, including here in the Hudson Valley.

Facebook/Boe Burke
Facebook/Boe Burke
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"Sending Sunflowers~Love and Peace to Ukraine" said Boe Burke, alongside a photo of a sunflower field that he posted to Facebook. The public Facebook page The Hudson Valley has been flooded with sunflower photos from all across our area, along with messages of hope and peace. Burke posted a poem alongside his sunflower image:

Standing up in a crowd and out in a field~my sunny disposition brings mass appeal
I reach for the heavens in rings of gold~long legs that speak
“I’m brave~I’m bold”
Every August I’m bursting onto the scene~across the fields where farmers scheme
Attracting admirers from near and far~ahead of the pumpkins~I’m the star
My promise to you~I’ll bring the light~my short time here~you will delight
Children of all ages~gather with me
the smiles on their faces~a sight to see
Like a magnet to metal
I’m irresistible~standing in a crowd~I’m anything but dull
So plant my seeds and have no fear
My promise to you~I’ll be back next year
"Thank you for this beautiful poem. Many prayers for Ukraine", commented one Facebook user. "Thank you. My family is in Kharkiv [Ukraine]" said another. Government agencies have also found unique ways to show support.

Bridge in Lights

Many public landmarks were lit up in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, including the Mario Cuomo Bridge.

Facebook/Jude Kennedy
Facebook/Jude Kennedy
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This stunning photo from Jude Kennedy shows each side of the bridge flooding in rich color. Lucas O'Malley (lucas_omalley_photography on Instagram) shared another beautiful view from river-level in Tarrytown, NY:

Instagram: lucas_omalley_photography
Lucas O'Malley
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Ukraine in the Hudson Valley

Proof of the large Ukrainian population in New York can be seen all over the Hudson Valley. Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery is in Campbell Hall, NY in Orange County, and the Soyuzifka Heritage Center is in Kerhonkson, NY in Ulster County. There's also Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Hudson, NY and Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Hunter, NY.

Ukrainian Flags can be spotted all over the Hudson Valley (Google Maps)
Ukrainian Flags can be spotted all over the Hudson Valley (Google Maps)
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Response from Albany

As mentioned, Governor Kathy Hochul has also imposed economic sanctions against Russia on behalf of the state, ordering all New York business with Russian companies to cease immediately.

"Our state will not permit its own investment activity, whether directly or indirectly, to aid Russia as it commits these human rights violations. New York is home to the largest population of Ukrainians in the United States - they are our family and an attack on them is an attack on us all. We will make our statements and values known and show solidarity with Ukraine as we rebuke this assault on democracy."

Alternative Response

Musicians have also taken actions to show their support. Green Day recently announced the cancellation of an upcoming stadium show in Russia, and Damiano David, lead singer of Maneskin, took to Instagram to share photos from a rally of Ukrainian support in Italy. Want to help? You can find additional resources below. Want to help closer to home? Keep scrolling to check out some amazing and reputable local charities you can support.

15 Ways You Can Help People in Ukraine Right Now

As Americans watch events unfold in Ukraine, many wonder how they can help. Below is a list of organizations responding to the crisis in Ukraine along with information on how you can support their various missions. 

Hudson Valley Charities You Can Feel Good About Supporting

Reputable Hudson Valley Charities