Margaret W. Wong & Associates - Immigration Attorneys
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Out & About in Cleveland

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1st Annual ESOL Brunch at Tri-C

This morning, November 6th, we drove over to the Metro Campus Center at Tri-C for the 1st Annual ESOL (English Speakers Other Languages) Brunch that was organized by the Tri-C ABLE (Adult Basic Literary Education) Program. The main coordinator for this event was Ms. Sheila Manley, Transition Coordinator for ABLE who welcomed us and invited us to table and so we did. In addition to Margaret W. Wong and Associates, some of the other tablers were Mr. Kyle Hodges from Metrohealth Human Resources; Ms. Jessica Whale and Ms. Joy Roller from Global Cleveland; Ms. Esther Kraft from the Hispanic Council at Tri-C; Ms. Kristine Jackson from the Educational Opportunity Center at Tri-C; Ms. Jaclyn Celebrezze, an immigration attorney from Rosner, Ortman and Moss; and Ms. Rachel Donaldson from the International Services Center.

All told, about 50 students and several guests had signed up to attend this affair. Ms. Manley told us that the its purpose was to "service the international students in our ESOL and ABLE programs in order to meet their needs in terms of employment, school, transitioning to college and identifying services that can assist them." The program was introduced by Ms. Paula Kertes, Director of the ABLE program who said that Tri-C is currently serving students from 117 different countries and the students that were there at this event were handpicked by their teachers to be here. She went on to say that the purpose of ABLE was to assist students in making the next step forward in their lives whether that be advanced education or employment.

In order to ensure that the students stopped at all of the tables, we, the tablers, were given little tickets to give them so that they would be eligible to win raffle prizes at the end of the program. And this worked out pretty good for us because we were able to talk to quite a few students and meet people who had immigrated to the United States from Georgia (the country), Iraq, Sudan, Syria, India, Mexico, Brazil, Central Asia, and Italy. Several of them had questions (mostly concerning their visas) and we referred them to our office for answers.

Ms. Kertes told us that that ABLE cannot accept students who are in the U.S. on the F1 visa program because it is an F1 requirement that the holder be a full-time student and the ABLE classes are only a few hours a week. Those holding a J1 visa (work and study) are eligible, however.

Among those that we talked to was a man who immigrated to the United States from India who now has his green card and is working for a jeweller. He is still taking classes and would like eventually to get into banking. We wish him well. We also gave our contact information to a man who is thinking about marrying a woman who is currently in Europe thus he may need some help bringing her to the United States.

As we were packing up to leave, several instructors and administrators approached us and asked if they could have some of our literature to keep in their offices for future reference and possible referrals. Naturally, we said, "certainly!"

Our next event was "Women in Law, Making a Difference" at the Union Club. The purpose of this gathering is best described by a portion of a Letter that the program co-chairs Ms. Kelly Albin, Ms. Ann Caresani, and Ms. Elaine Eisner wrote in the souvenir booklet which said, "The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's Women in Law Section ("CMBA WIL") and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel ("NEOACCA") are thrilled to have the opportunity to once again host an event honoring a select group of female attorneys for making a difference in the lives of other women and contributing to the Northeast Ohio Community..."

All told 20 women were honored including our good friend, Ms. Deborah W. Yue of Gallagher Sharp for whom we created an ad for the booklet which read that we congratulated Ms. Yue because "while providing civil litigation services to businesses and individuals, you give your community time and talent." We had another event to attend that evening so we, ourselves, could only stay for just over an hour but Ms. Judy Wong was there too and Ms. Margaret W. Wong adjusted her schedule so she could come for a little while and congratulate the honorees.

Since the first part of the night was social time, we moved around and met some good people and had some good conversations. Some of the people were visited with were:

***Mr. Bryan R. Ahern who is the husband of one of the honorees, Ms. Ann-Marie Ahern. We talked about the fact that he had the same name as a Shakespearean actor, Brian Aherne, who was popular in the 1930's and 1940's. As it turned out, since we like old movies, we were more familiar with Brian Aherne than Mr. Ahern, himself, was and we had a laugh about it.

***Ms. Stephanie L. Lingle and Ms. Cheryl M. Wiltshire, two attorneys who plan to open their own law firm next year. We wish them the best.

***Ms. Amelia J. Leonard, an attorney who likes and admires Ms. Margaret W. Wong a lot and has been talking with her lately.*

**We talked about the results of the judicial races in Tuesday's election with Mr. Andrew Santoli, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the office of the Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, as well as County Prosecutor McGinty's efforts to combat human trafficking and sexual assault. We also had another good discussion about the election with Ms. Melissa Yasinow with the Cleveland Heights City Council.

***Ms. Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty of Medina Creative Housing knows Ms. Wong from when Ms. DePasquale-Hagerty was the General Counsel for Lakewood Hospital from 1987 to 1997. When situations involving immigration came up, she would turn to Ms. Wong.

***We talked to Mr. Charles Billington of Ogletree and Deakins about the presentation that we attended last week about bullying in the workplace. Mr. Billington predicted that LGBT issues will be a "new frontier" for the legal profession in upcoming years.

*** We were talking about Ms. Wong with Ms. Linda Garramore, the Office Administrator for Ogletree and Deakins when Ms. Garramore suddenly asked us if Ms. Wong was small and had big red glasses. We replied that the answer to both questions was "yes" so Ms. Garramore said, "she's standing to the left of you" and Ms. Wong indeed was.

***We briefly spoke with two lawyers who seemed to know Ms. Margaret W. Wong very well. They paid her a complient when they said, "Margaret Wong effuses!

"***We received our first reply for our Holiday Party from Ms. Inajo Davis Chappell (one of the honorees) from Ulmer and Berne. She Chappell said that she would love to go but she will be in Florida on that day. She urged us to keep her on the invite list, however, which we gladly will do.

Our last event for Thursday was the Abrahamic Center of Notre Dame College Distinguished Lecture. The Abrahamic Center develops innovative educational programs for the College and the Greater Cleveland community which fosters mutual respect among diverse faith communities and cultures.

Tonight's speaker was Mr. Eboo Patel who, according to program notes indicated, "is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) which is a Chicago-based organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses." His book, "Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation" is required reading for many of the freshman students at Notre Dame.

The title of the lecture that he delivered was "Interfaith Cooperation: Why Religious and Non-Religious Diversity Matters in the 21st Century" and a very good one it was. Mr. Patel started off talking about how the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (a Christian) was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi (a Hindu) and how many notable movements of recent years would not have been as successful as they were without interfaith cooperation such as the end of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the malaria rate, and efforts to help the homeless. He said that interfaith is a powerful dynamic but it takes bridges which people must build because "they do not fall from the sky."

Before the lecture, we spoke with Dr. Carol Ziegler, SND who coordinated the event, and Mr. Thomas G. Krucek, the President of Notre Dame College. We told Mr. Krucek that Ms. Margaret W. Wong would have liked to have been there and he laughed and said that he figured she was "out and about."

We encountered Mr. Jim Nagle who we saw at the IRTF banquet a few days before. Mr. Nagle is an actor who is playing Thomas Merton in a one-person show. In fact, during the Q and A, he asked a question about interfaith cooperation as it pertained to Thomas Merton. Sitting down the row from us was Mr. Jacob Kabb who told us about a wonderful program that Fairmount Temple had fairly recently about immigration and the need for immigration reform.

Lastly, we spoke to Mr. David Skvasik, a first year chemistry major who went to St. Ignacius with Mr. Wong's nephew, Mr. Vincent Wong. For a young person, Mr. Skvasik knew a lot about what Margaret W. Wong and Associates does and said that our firm "fills a unique role...many immigrants come here...you make everything flow."

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