ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The one-hour rally at Elmira College was filled with community members wearing their blue and yellow holding up Ukraine flags for the Unity In the Community Rally on the first day of spring, Sunday, March 20, 2022.

“Today’s rally showed that the people of the Twin Tiers will join people throughout the world with this unity in the community to rally against the horrible situations happening to the Ukrainian people.” said Dr. Stephen Coleman, Organizer.

Leaders from across the Southern Tier took the stage with unity in their minds and togetherness in their hearts.

“They were Republicans speaking today. There were Democrats and members of the clergy. Today all kinds of leaders were brought together by the situation in Ukraine and support of the brave people of Ukraine,” said Coleman.

The rally displayed that Ukraine has local allies within the Southern Tier.

“New York state has the largest amount of Ukrainians of any other state. We’ve already committed as a state to save the people of Ukraine for a very long time,” said Brent Stermer, Councilman, City of Elmira.

The mission was clear. Community leaders are taking a stand to bring community members together.

“You need people to get together, speak, and then when the public see people who spoke at the rally. They can reach out and be like, I saw you at the rally. How do I help? It is important for us to all come together to help heal the world,” said Stermer.

This rally is the second installment of the Unity in the community event series and won’t be the last in hopes to organize change.

“I want to keep doing Unity In The Community rallies and marches when appropriate. I’m going to keep plugging away. Why not stand for something? Why not rally for something? Why not march for something decent?” said Coleman.

Local leaders say this rally was necessary. It’s a great way to use their voice alongside the community.

“Our community was built on saving refugees. Anything we can ever do to work toward the ultimate goal of making all migrants be their true selves and to help refugees I want to be part of,” said Stermer.