MILWAUKEE — On Saturday, hundreds gathered outside of City Hall for a candlelight vigil to remember the Ukrainian lives lost in the war.
Leaders from dozens of religious organizations and non-profits curated a memorial in front of City Hall made up of candles next to the shoes of children, to illustrate the young lives that have been taken.
Locals like Alex Edengurina felt a strong crippling reality check as she gazed at the shoes and remembered her family members who were fortunate enough to flee from Ukraine.
"Just knowing that children are dying because of this every day is horrific," said Edengurina.
According to UNICEF, a Ukrainian child becomes a refugee almost every single second since the start of the war on Feb. 24. More than 1.5 million children have fled the country so far.
Crowds gathering outside lit candles, sang songs and held back tears as they honored lives lost. Many in the crowd still have close ties to loved ones in Ukraine, like Halyna Salapta.
"I do have my brothers live there, my sister lives there, and pretty much everyone I know here has family back in Ukraine," said Salapata.
Local religious leaders and government leaders took the mic to speak out about the atrocities and share their support.
Despite the anger and fear, the crowd held a strong show of solidarity and hope for an end to the war.
"Everybody is scared, everyone I know is scared. No one knows what to expect but at the same time they are still brave because they are not scared of the war, they're just scared at what price do we have to pay. We know we're going to win, there is no doubt, but the only thing is, how long," said Salapata.