This year, for Ukranian poet Taras Shevchenko’s birthday, the celebration was bittersweet in Roseville.
“We celebrate his birthday every year, he’s almost like our George Washington,” Lubow Jowa said, of Shevchenko’s legacy. Jowa is part of the Ukranian Heritage Club of Northern California.
Shevchenko’s birthday is overshadowed this year by what the Consul General for Ukraine’s Embassy in San Francisco calls a Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
“Urge Russians to return back to their military bases in Crimea,” Ukrainian Consul General Sergiy Aloshyn said.
Aloshyn is optimistic that President Obama and the Ukrainian prime minister, who are meeting this week, will find a peaceful solution with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, Jowa thinks Ukrainians can still learn something from Shevchenko after all these years.
He just encourages us to keep fighting for our freedom,” Jowa said. “And one day, we will get it.”