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Across Midtown this weekend, Broadway and the small business community rallied to support the people of Ukraine in a series of events and initiatives designed to raise funds and awareness of the ongoing conflict.
Powering through the raw, rainy weather, the Broadway community, in collaboration with Times Square Alliance and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, the Broadway Advocacy Coalition and The Broadway League gathered on the Red Steps in Duffy Square on Broadway and W47th Street on Sunday for a morning of song and solidarity hosted by actress and activist Shakina Nayfack and Ukrainian journalist Maksym Erisitavi. Nayfack is best-known for her roles on the TV shows Difficult People, Transparent, and NBC’s Connecting, in which she was the first transgender actor in a starring role on a network comedy. Eristavi is known for his coverage of the intersection of identity politics, disinformation, and Russian colonialism.
The event began with a land acknowledgment by representatives from the Lenape people who made a statement of solidarity and the importance of standing against imperialism “for all peoples, including Ukraine.”
Representatives from the casts of several Broadway shows as well as the Broadway Inspirational Voices choir then joined to sing the Les Miserables classic Do You Hear the People Sing? as the Times Square Alliance flew a Ukrainian flag over digital billboards at Luxottica, JCDecaux, Sherwood Equities, American Eagle Outfitters, T-Mobile, Clear Channel Outdoor, and Branded Cities. In a particularly powerful moment, one of the verses of the Boublil-Schonberg revolutionary standard was translated into Ukrainian.
Further west on 47th Street, Sullivan Street Bakery kicked off their own fundraiser with a week-long “Bake for Ukraine” initiative, in which 100 percent of the company’s signature chocolate chip cookie sales will be donated to Sunflower for Peace, a nonprofit humanitarian aid organization dedicated to providing medical equipment and first-aid to responders and citizens in Ukraine. Sullivan Street kicked off their fundraiser by distributing over 200 cookies to the Madison Square Garden Chase Lounge for Saturday’s Knicks game.