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Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce; 6th Annual International Cleveland Community Day; Legacy and Work of Amir A. Khalid Samad

The title of Ms. Wong's book, "The Immigrant's Way" was very much apparent throughout the rest of the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th.

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First of all, we decided to enter the road rally put on by the Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce which took place on Saturday kicking off at the Fairport Harbor Beach. All told, the contest consisted of 19 teams of roadsters with such titles as "Re-calculating", "Destination Unknown", "Four Friends with a Car", "Teamo Supremo", and "Edge of Insanity". We decided to make use of the occasion to call attention to the purpose/mission of "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" through the naming of our team(yep, you guessed it!) "The Immigrant's Way" so we taped posters on the hood and both sides of our Ford Focus.

The route of the rally, which took us around the Painesville/Concord/Perry/Madison section of Lake County, was designed by Ms. Nancy Zangerle from "Global Real Estate Advisors" in Mentor who also acted as the official starter by the waving of flag and the blowing of whistle to launch each team just a few minutes apart.

While most of the teams had 3-4 people per car, we had decided to go it alone only with the help of our friend, Ms. Tracey Schveder. In retrospect, it was not wise planning on our part because a person was needed to drive the car and at least 2 other people were needed to seek out the answers to various questions based on the sights along the car rally's route. For instance, in order to gain points one had to observe and record such items as the number of a VFW and what lettering was on a brown sign at a particular intersection.

After a while, we just focused on getting to the different check points with the help of our GPS. Once we arrived at these check points, we were required to take part in certain activities (which were quite fun) before we could move on with the rally. These exercises included putting golf balls at the "Quail Hollow Country Club"; handcrafting a small ornament out of wires and beads at "Craft Smiths" an out-of-the-way consignment shop; and taking a sobriety test by trying to walk a straight line while wearing goggles that simulated intoxication.

At last, after traveling some 45 miles, we arrived at our final destination which was "Grand River Cellars" winery in Madison. Admittedly, we finished last but at least "The Immigrant's Way" managed to cross the finish line. Of course, we didn't win a prize but we did enjoy some good pizza as the winners were announced with first place going to "Teamo Supremo" with "Destination Unknown" right behind it.

Let us write that we were glad that a team piloted by our friend, Pastor Jeff Sivyer of the "Grove Church of Lake County" made a very strong showing. Pastor Jeff's team was named "Mathew 714" after a Bible verse which, as we discovered through research, read: 

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it."

We could think of nothing more appropriate than this verse for a road rally although, in this case, not everyone found answers to many of the questions posed, but all 19 teams did find their way to "Grand River Cellars" and "The Immigrant's Way" was among them, sputtering along.

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On Sunday we tabled for most of the day at 6th annual "International Cleveland Community Day" which took place in "The Ames Family Atrium" at the "Cleveland Museum of Art" and whose sponsors were "Cuyahoga Arts and Culture", "Ohio Arts Council", and "Margaret W. Wong & Associates".

We arrived early and found an excellent location right next to the table of the "United Hungarian Societies" staffed by Mr. Andrew and Ms. Andrea Lazar and just a few tables down from that of the "Polish American Cultural Center" staffed solely by Mr. Gary Kotlarsic who admirably stayed close to his table all day and smiled to all walked by. Most of the other tablers (approximately 25 in all) represented various cultural organizations such as the "Hispanic Alliance", "Croatian Museum", "Cleveland Asian Festival", "Motivasians", "Confucius Institute", "Sokol Greater Cleveland", and "Federation of India Community Organizations". Many of the members of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens had tables in honor of their gardens including those of Serbia, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Vietnam, and Russia. But there were also prominent community organizations tabling there such as the "Rainey Institute", "East Cleveland Public Library", and the "Cleveland Inner City Ballet".

Hanging above the Atrium were beautiful banners designed and created in the CMA Community Arts workshops by many of the organizations that were tabling there.

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Of course we spent most of our time standing/sitting at our table and many people stopped by our table to visit with us for a moment and to perhaps obtain one of our shiney, red "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" letter openers. As for "The Immigrant's Way", we handed out copies to such people as:

***A young couple from China who have been here in the United States for a month and are considering immigrating here.

***A man named George who was on his way to view the "Jazz Age" exhibition taking place on one of the lower levels. George told us that he immigrated to the United States from Vienna in 1939 and on Columbus Day will celebrate his anniversary of being here 78 years.

***A medical interpreter named Anita who told us that she has referred several people to our office over the years.

***A young person from Taiwan who currently has an O1 visa but is exploring the possibility of remaining in the U.S.

***Ms. Lourdes Sanchez who has been conducting a leadership workshop for Latino students at Lakeland College. Included in the topics discussed are familial and community values, cultural identity and college plans. Unfortunately another subject that must be discussed is what those who have benefited from DACA should do to readjust their lives if they should have to return to the land of their birth. We gave Ms. Sanchez two copies of Ms. Wong's book in English and in Spanish.

Throughout the day, we were entertained by musical and dance performances from such multicultural groups as the "Sho-Jo-Ji Japanese Dancers", "Nritya Gitanjali School of Dance and Music", "Cuyahoga Cossacks", "American Zagreb Junior Tamburitza" (featuring a beautiful performance in song by Miss Gina Kucmania), "Cleveland Inner City Ballet", "Fairmount Spanish Dancers", "Shri Kalaa Mandir Dance Company", and "Dance Israeli".

And walking amongst us at various intervals were the breathtakingly stunning "Toward Another Land" giant puppets inspired by the CMA Islamic art collection.

For us, our time at the the museum that day more than lived up to what was written in the program notes which was "this annual festival is a celebration of the rich diversity of Greater Cleveland. During this vibrant afternoon, enjoy dynamic presentations from more than 50 community groups expressing the continued vitality of the global cultures and arts that enliven our city."

After we left the Museum on Sunday we decided to do a quick stopover at a tribute for the "legacy and work" of our good friend Amir Alhajj Khalid A. Samad that took place at the Coalition For A Better Life/Peace in the Hood on Kinsman Road because we really respect Amir Samad and "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" contributed to this special occasion.

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While we were there (only briefly) we said hello to Cleveland City Councilperson Phyllis Cleveland, Ms. Julia Shearson of "CAIR", Mr. Don Bryant who has been involved in all kinds of social justice issues, and Ms. Ruth Standiford who first approached us about participating in this event and we are glad that she did.

When we arrived Amir Samad was just finishing a speech he was giving in which he said that the new focus of the the social justice movement must be human rights instead of civil rights and it is very important that everyone know the history of his/her ancestry because this knowledge will help us to understand who we are as well. 

To be sure, we agree with what the program notes said about Amir Samad which is that for 40 years he has "been there from underserved youth and their families in our community...On behalf of the hundreds if not thousands of youth and adults that our on a positive path because of his passion and his commitment! This year 2017, it is time to say, "THANK YOU!"

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

 

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