Fundraiser for Ukraine at Colectivo's Back Room

As devastating images continue to come out of Ukraine, a Milwaukee event on Saturday wanted to switch the focus – organizers want people to remember the beauty that Ukrainians are fighting to save.

Anya Nakonechna performed Saturday at Colectivo's Back Room. She is supposed to be in Ukraine studying music at Lviv National Musical Academy. Instead, many of her classmates are now fighting Russian troops.

"Right now, I can’t explain their tone, but they are very strong," Nakonechna said. "Everybody is very willing to fight."

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Five thousand miles away, in Milwaukee, Nakonechna and others from the Ukrainian community are working to make sure Wisconsin knows their story.

"My grandparents were all born in Ukraine," Danai Hietpas said.

Fundraiser for Ukraine at Colectivo's Back Room

To understand today's war, one has to first understand Ukraine's history. It is a history and culture they are fighting to preserve for the next generation.

"I want people to realize that this isn’t new for us, unfortunately. We’re used to being picked on by Russia," said Hietpas.

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Saturday's event raised money for several organizations that send direct aid to Ukraine. Organizers hope America sees why it is worth fighting for.

"I think a lot of people that I know right now are used to seeing the pictures of the rubble and bombings, and they see this gray landscape of people evacuating, but there’s so much beauty there that is being destroyed. I want the beauty to be at the front of people’s minds," Hietpas said.

Fundraiser for Ukraine at Colectivo's Back Room

Colectivo sold out all of its special yellow-and-blue cookies before Saturday's event start. They will have more Sunday at all 20 locations; 100% of sales are donated to Sunflowers of Peace.

Additionally, Colectivo donated 20% of sales at the Prospect Avenue location Saturday afternoon to Sunflowers of Peace.

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