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While fundraising for refugees, some worry about conflict fatigue over sympathy for Ukraine

CHICAGO (CBS) — To help Ukrainians escape violence amid the war in that country, CBS 2 has partnered with the Illinois Broadcasters Association to raise money for UNICEF.

Wednesday marked the last day of fundraising. It ended at 11 p.m.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman reported, it’s been two months since the first Russian attack on Ukraine. Those with ties to Ukraine worry about conflict fatigue; that our community will forget the continuing atrocities of war. And the war has shown no signs of abating.

Victoria Cooper says that two months into the war she never stopped worrying about her family in Chernihiv, Ukraine.

“The fact that they escaped is nothing short of a miracle,” Cooper said.

For 30 days, when Chernihiv was occupied by the Russian military, Cooper’s parents hid in cramped quarters where they were given a bucket of water daily. Their house has now been destroyed.

“We were all very nervous,” Cooper said. “Part of me didn’t want to believe it.”

At the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, 2320 W. Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village, Steve Robinson with New Media Productions aired for hours. He raised thousands of dollars for the children of Ukraine.

Cooper said this job was important to his family who were living through this war.

“Faced with such violence, the world has kind of forgotten about them,” she said.

Facing conflict fatigue, Cooper fears the support will continue – as the war has shown no signs of abating.

“I’m afraid Americans, or Western society as a whole, want to get back to a more comfortable life,” Cooper said.

Meanwhile, in Daley Plaza on Wednesday, accompanied by violins, protesters spread out shoes and toys to remember the hundreds of children who have been injured in the war in Ukraine – and the 186 who have been killed.

“They are painted over to represent the torture of pain that all families and children have gone through,” said Tonya Sompalli of Help Ukraine Together.

Both women say they will never stop fighting to end the war – and they hope the Chicago community will continue their support.

“This massacre must be known and stopped,” Sompalli said.

“Every generation of Ukrainians has to fight,” Cooper added. “It looks like this particular generation is dying of it en masse.”

The call to action to donate to UNICEF ran all day and night Wednesday. The money will help migration centers for refugees forced to flee Ukraine.

The goal was $150,000.


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