Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a powerful message to Hollywood urging continued support for the country’s fight against the Russian invasion, as Sean Penn and Ann Lee’s annual CORE Gala raised $2.5M for humanitarian causes.
President Zelensky addressed the 2022 CORE fundraising event last night in a video that began with a series of harrowing images of destruction brought about by Russian attacks on Ukraine, which began in February.
“All of this is not a logline for a film. All of this is our reality,” he said. “All of you have seen the photos from Ukraine. Peaceful cities and villages wiped off the face of the earth. All of this is not the scenery of a blockbuster about the apocalypse. All of this is our reality.”
He thanked nonprofit CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort)’s work in Ukraine and urged attendees, who included Bill Clinton, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Patrick Stewart and Sharon Stone, to continue supporting the embattled country.
Thousands have died or been wounded since the war began, with many others displaced from their homes and forced to seek asylum. However, President Zelensky took a defiant tone to end his speech.
“But we will definitely rebuild Ukraine. Streets and neighborhoods, peaceful cities and villages,” he said. “We will heal bodies from wounds and souls from losses. All of this is not a synopsis from a fiction film. All of this is our reality and our future. And all of you can help us in this.”
He also personally thanked Penn, who has been in Ukraine since the war began. “You were ready to melt your Oscar in protest against the lack of support to Ukraine,” said Zelensky. “I hope that this will not be necessary. Other metal must melt.
“Support Ukraine because Ukraine supports the whole world. Fight for Ukraine because Ukraine is fighting for the whole world. For democracy, for freedom, for life. Glory to Ukraine.”
The fundraiser, held last night at the Hollywood Palladium, was returning after a yearlong hiatus due to COVID-19. More than $2.5M was raised for the organization’s disaster relief and preparedness work, including the urgent humanitarian response in Ukraine. To donate, click this link.
The evening was emceed by comedian Aida Rodriguez, and featured performances by John Legend, Dakh Daughters, Josh Homme and Friends and Let It Happen and an exciting live auction.