Housatonic Community College's Ukrainian community shares heart-wrenching stories about war

Housatonic Community College's Ukrainian community held a panel discussion Thursday about the crisis in their home country.
The panel was organized by HCC CEO Dr. Dwayne Smith and invited dozens of the college's Ukrainian and Eastern European community members to attend.
Smith says he knew as soon as the war started in Ukraine that he needed to organize the panel so that students and the Ukrainian community had a chance to share their stories.
He says some of the stories are truly remarkable and that was he is heartbroken by a lot of them.
Some of the group members with Ukrainian ties say they are constantly watching the news and calling loved ones back home.
Luba Zamoyska and Yuliya Feduniv both came to America from Ukraine in search of a better life.
"It's heartbreaking to wake up every day and instead of saying, 'Hi, how are you?', I ask, 'Are you alive?'" said Zamoyska.
Smith says it's vital for the cause of freedom, whether at home or abroad, to fight for social justice and to reject oppression in all of its forms.
"We understand the tragedy that's occurring and we want to show the world at Housatonic Community College that we are there for the Ukrainians," said Smith.
Dr. Larisa Rowe's son is a United States Marine. She says she and her son have vowed to defy Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He Putin wants us to cry, he wants us to be depressed, he wants us to be unfunctiuonal -- and I will not do that for Mr. Putin," said Rowe.