A blue and yellow heart composed of members of the community holding blue and yellow glowsticks during Saturday evening’s Peace Glow at Spirio Field in White Rock. The photo was captured by a Los Alamos Police Department drone. The event drew a crowd of about 300 people and raised $4,101 for disaster relief in Ukraine. Photo by Cpl. Sheldon Simpson/LAPD
Community members gather around the a heart-shaped area holding their yellow glow sticks as the moon rises above the Sangre de Cristo Mountains Saturday evening at Spirio Field in White Rock, Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Rotary Club of Los Alamos Vice President Linda Hull distributes glow sticks along with some of her Los Alamos High School Rotary Interact Club volunteers. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Chris and Stephanie Rittner joined a large crowd Saturday evening for the Peace Glow at Spirio Field in White Rock. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos High School Rotary Interact Club members assist with the distribution of glow sticks at Saturday’s Peace Glow. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Judy Bjarke-McKenzie, Theresa Cull, center, and Mike O’Neill get ready for the Peace Glow Saturday evening. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Municipal Judge and Rotarian Elizabeth Allen, right, chats with Los Alamos County Councilor Sara Scott and her husband Brian at Saturday’s Peace Glow. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos High School junior Yunseo Kim, President of the LAHS Rotary Interact and Los Alamos Deputy Police Chief Oliver Morris, President of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos get ready to set things in motion at Saturday’s Peace Glow. See the inspirational speech by Yunseo Kim below. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos High School Rotary Interact Club members rally to volunteer for Saturday’s Peace Glow. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos County Council Chair Randy Ryti and his wife, Wendy Swanson at Saturday’s Peace Glow. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos Fire Department firefighters from Station 3 in White Rock showed up to support Saturday’s Peace Glow. Photo by MaireO’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY YUNSEO KIM
Los Alamos High School Interact Club
Good evening everyone! My name is Yunseo Kim. I am a junior at the Los Alamos High School, and I am President of the Los Alamos High School Rotary Interact Club. Before I dive in, I would actually like to thank Officer Morris for leading and coordinating this event tonight. This could not have been possible without Officer Morris’s hard work and dedication, and I would like to extend my sincere gratitude.
Officer Morris asked me to speak with you all today about our High School’s Rotary Interact Club, and I’m so honored to do so! As a high school student, I believe at one point in our lives we have all felt too powerless or small to make a difference in our world. The impact of COVID-19 was huge as well. Collectively – We lost our family members. We lost our dear friends, and we lost precious opportunities. Through this time, our Interact club still tried our best to be there for one another and our community. But as we observed our state more and more, we realized that people lost something else as well, that wasn’t really talked about: a loss of support and resources, particularly regarding poverty and food insecurity in New Mexico. In response to this, our Interact club chose to fundraise and develop donation drives that were extremely well received by our community and we were ever so grateful. Thankfully, such generous donations from Los Alamos, like you, made a massive difference during the winter months for the families of Espanola and Northern New Mexico.
Another issue our Interact club addressed was Haiti’s state of emergency, after it was hit by earthquakes and the devastating effects of natural disasters.Our club really unified for this cause, and through the generosity of our community once again, we raised over $1,300 dollars for the Shelter Box Organization, a relief program that sends emergency supplies to developing countries. Our donations helped impact families who had lost their homes, who had been displaced, and those who had been injured.
Similarly to the coronavirus pandemic, we may all feel to powerless right now, seeing war crimes and history being changed in our lifetime. In February of 2022, Russia mercilessly invaded Ukraine and began the war. Ukraine has been thrown into a state of emergency, and has suffered immense loss. As the war rages on in Ukraine, it’s difficult to fully understand how extreme suffering people are experiencing right now. More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine and are in dire need of emergency aid. The United Nations estimates that number could grow to as many as 5 million people displaced. The citizens are grappling with food shortages, lack of shelter and bitter-cold temperatures. They are facing injuries as a result of bombings, violence and exposure. More sadly, women and children are direct victims of war, living between survival and death.
Here today, we may not have the power to stop this war, but in some way your contribution tonight may have saved someone’s life someone’s family, their parents, or their children. The funds raised from today will all be distributed to the Rotary International Disaster Relief Fund, a direct means to provide aid to Ukraine and the countries threatened on its borders. There are even Rotary Clubs in Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and even more, who will fighting for Ukraine this very moment. And that difference in even one person’s life should mean all to us, for it will to them. I would like to sincerely thank everyone for coming out tonight, and your overwhelming support! May we continue to fight for everlasting peace in this world, together. Thank you.