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City of Parma standing with Ukraine, shows signs of support amid Russia's invasion

Parma Ukraine signs
Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 26, 2022

PARMA, Ohio — The city of Parma is home to a high concentration of Ukrainian-Americans with more than 4,000 of Ohio's more than 40,000 Ukrainians calling the city home. With Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, those here in Northeast Ohio are standing in solidarity with their family, friends and loved ones overseas.

To show that support, Parma City Council members Kristin Saban and Mark Casselberry worked with the city and the Ukrainian Village Committee to create and distribute signs of support for businesses in the area to hang on their storefront windows.

Many of those windows already showed Ukrainian pride with flags and signage of their home away from home—another reason city officials felt it was so important to physically show their support.

"We just want to show our neighbors and our neighborhoods here in Ukrainian Village that we are behind you and we support you and we are here to do whatever we can to help you get through each day," Saban said.

Taking the signs that read "We Stand With Ukraine," Saban and Casselberry hope that seeing the signs can make people in the city feel like they are not alone amid the overseas crisis.

"Today we're just hoping to come out and just put a smile on their face, let them know that we support them, the city and council—that we stand behind them and will do whatever we can to help them," Casselberry said.

As the two entered businesses Saturday morning with the signs, business owners and employees lit up—seeing the small gesture as something much bigger, an act that shows that their Ohio community cares about their community back in Ukraine.

For Jonathan Hejnal, a Ukrainian-American born in Parma, this gesture, these signs, gave him a sign—a reminder that his people are strong and will continue to fight against Russia's invasion.

"I've been a Ukrainian-American since the day I was born, my grandmother instilled that in me. So I stand with them and I stand with my family that I still have there and I appreciate that Parma is standing with us, not just Parma but all of Cleveland," Hejnal said. "It's hard but we're surviving. We're surviving. Our nature, our culture is about surviving. And we are a string people."

The signs in Parma reflect a push across the area to stand in solidarity with Ukraine, joining in with Downtown Cleveland which had its landmark building Tower City illuminated in blue and yellow to express support for Ukraine.

RELATED: Terminal Tower lights up blue and yellow in solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion

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