Amherst Ceremony Calls For End To War In Ukraine

Young Amherst residents turned out for the public reading of the Town Council's resolution in support of Ukraine. (L-R): Victoria.Zakashansky , Charlie Mackey, Rory Mackey, and Danni Mackey. Photo: Art Keene

Members of the Town Council, town hall staff, and the public gathered on the steps of Town Hall on Wednesday (3/23) for a ceremonial raising of the Ukrainian flag and a reading of the Town Council’s proclamation condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine. The proclamation called for an end to Russian aggression in Ukraine,  acknowledged the vast human suffering and environmental damage that the war has caused, called on all nations to recognize the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, and expressed unequivocal support for the people of Ukraine and for “their right to self-determination and to life without threat to their freedom, territorial integrity, or independence”.  The resolution was passed unanimously at the meeting of the town council on March 21. The full resolution is printed below.  The full text also can be found here.  In recognition of this resolution, the council will fly the Ukrainian flag at Town Hall until April 23, 2022 or until a date extended by the council.

The resolution was drafted and sponsored  by Amherst residents Pete and Kyna Mackey and was co-sponsored by town councilors  Michele Miller (District 1), Pat DeAngelis and Lynne Griesemer  (District 2), Dorothy Pam and Jennifer Taub (District 3),  Anika Lopes (District 5), and Mandi Jo Hanneke (at large).

Asked about his family’s motivation for drafting and promoting the proclamation Pete Mackey said:

“Like many people, we are sickened by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Knowing how many neighbors share that deep concern, we thought the Town Council might want to make an official statement against this war. We’re grateful for the Council’s leadership, and hope other towns will consider resolutions like this so that their voice can be heard with other communities around the world.”

The Mackeys also have set up a Facebook page, “Women and Children United for Ukraine,” which shares news about the war and information about how to support the people of Ukraine and which now has members from many countries.

The Ukrainian flag will fly at Town Hall until at least April 23, 2022. Photo: Art Keene
Some of the members of the Amherst Town Council and the public who shared in reading the council’s resolution supporting the people of Ukraine. (L-R): Gabrielle Gould, Executive Director, Amherst Business Improvement District; Lynne Griesemer, Town Council President (District 2); Ana Devlin-Gauthier, Town Councilor (District 5); Michele Miller, Town Councilor (District 1); Mandi Jo Hanneke, Town Councilor (at large); Jennifer Taub, Town Councilor (District 3), Peter Mackey, co-sponsor. Photo: Art Keene

Resolution Supporting the People of Ukraine and Their Democratically Elected Government And Condemning Russia’s War Against Them

Council Sponsors: Councilors De Angelis, Griesemer, Hanneke, Lopes, Miller, Pam, and Taub; Community Sponsors: Pete Mackey and Kyna Mackey

WHEREAS, it is the duty of citizens in every democracy to stand up for the cause of democracy and to stand against those who threaten the human and democratic rights of others; and

WHEREAS, Ukraine is a sovereign and independent nation with the right to self-determination; and

WHEREAS, 90% of the people of Ukraine voted for independence from the former Soviet Union in December 1991; and

WHEREAS, through the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, Ukraine surrendered its vast arsenal of 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads to Russia in December 1994 in return for security assurances from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia against threats or the use of force that would risk the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine; and

WHEREAS, in 2013-2014 the people of Ukraine rejected their government’s pursuit of renewed ties with Russia through a momentous street protest, Russia forcibly annexed Crimea and backed a separatist movement in the Donbas region in a war that has killed more than 1,400 people, and the people of Ukraine elected a pro-European government; and

WHEREAS, in the years since Ukraine has pursued political and economic growth while continuing to re-affirm and deepen its commitment to democracy through democratic elections, democratically oriented revisions to its constitution, and increasing formal and extensive ties to other democratic European nations and the European Union; and

WHEREAS, Russia functions as an autocratic nation in which the president possesses ultimate power over all other branches of government and has, during 22 years in office, increasingly suppressed dissent and interfered through military violence, cyber warfare, and election manipulation in other nations from Syria to Crimea to the United States; and

WHEREAS, Russia has, through its invasion of Ukraine, attacked a sovereign and independent democratic nation without provocation; and

WHEREAS, Russia’s war on Ukraine is causing massive loss of civilian life, subjecting the people of Ukraine to grievous violence and suffering, already driving more than two million Ukrainians thus far to flee the country, and generating a humanitarian crisis of staggering scale for Ukraine and all of Europe; and

WHEREAS, Russia’s war on Ukraine is devastating the infrastructure of Ukraine, which is drastically reducing access to food, water, electricity, healthcare, and other essentials of human life and thereby worsening the growing humanitarian catastrophe; and

WHEREAS, Russia’s war on Ukraine has resulted in extensive and growing sanctions against Russia that increasingly will harm the people of Russia; and

WHEREAS, across Russia people continue to protest against the war despite the great risks to their own safety and well-being that they face from their own repressive government, resulting thus far in more than 15,000 arrests; and

WHEREAS, the people of Ukraine and their leaders, as powerfully embodied in the extraordinary example and voice of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have inspired people across the world with their courage, conviction, and fearless advocacy for democracy even amid the Russian onslaught; and

WHEREAS, we join with those in communities, towns, and cities across Europe, the United States, and around the world who are gathering to protest the war and to support the people of Ukraine in any ways they can.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we, the Amherst Town Council, most vigorously condemn Russia’s war on Ukraine and the horrific loss of life; suffering; economic, physical, and environmental devastation; and catastrophic humanitarian crisis it is causing.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we join with all those demanding that Russia end its war on Ukraine, withdraw its forces, and unilaterally commit to respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and allow Ukraine to continue its chosen path as a sovereign and independent democracy.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we urge the government of the United States and all other nations to work together even more strongly to convince Russia that it must uphold its obligations as a member of the international community and its commitments under the Budapest Memorandum and cease its attack on Ukraine.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we express our unequivocal support for the people of Ukraine and their right to self-determination and to life without threat to their freedom, territorial integrity, or independence. Town Hall | 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002-2351 AMHERSTMA.GOV

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Amherst Town Council further recognizes this Resolution by flying the Ukraine flag from Town Hall from March 23, 2022 until April 23, 2022 to help cultivate awareness for all residents of Amherst.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Amherst Town Council shall cause a copy of this Resolution to be sent to President Joseph Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward Markey, Representative Jim McGovern, Governor Charlie Baker, State Senator Joanne Comerford, State Representative Mindy Domb, and our local media.

VOTED this 21st day of March 2022.

Lynn Griesemer, Town Council President

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