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Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parties

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On Thursday, December 7th, our first two events were holiday parties for two chambers of commerce located miles apart from each other. In short, on this day quite a few miles were registered on our odometer.

First of all, we went to a yuletide-themed "Coffee Contacts" put on by the Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce at the Quail Hollow Resort in Concord Township.

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We got our photo taken with Santa Claus (who, under the white beard, looked suspiciously like a friend of ours from the chamber), enjoyed a breakfast buffet, and listened to some excellent networking tips rendered by Ms. Libby Hill from "Family Karate" and Mr. Skip Trombetti from "Skip T. Photography".

To be sure, we got to network and introduced ourselves to several new members of the chamber including a person who is a permanent resident of the United States who asked about the advantages of being a U.S. citizen as opposed to being a permanent resident. We pulled out our iPhone and found an article dealing with this topic which we immediately emailed to him.

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Later, towards evening, we drove to Lorain County to attend the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce's holiday mixer which took place at the Elyria Country Club even though we could only stay for an hour because we had another commitment back in Cleveland.

We haven't been to a Lorain County Chamber function lately so we spent a lot of time explaining the legal services offered by "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" and how we could help a businessperson who was considering taking on a foreign-born employee or intern.

We really enjoyed visiting with Ms. Tammy Jenkins and Mr. Eddie Henson who both work in the "Business Growth Services" division at Lorain Community College which is attended by representatives from 45 different nationalities. Our friend and colleague, Mr. George Koussa teaches there so Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Henson told us about recently developed programs concerning international studies.

Along these lines, we talked with an educator who has amongst his students a beneficiary of the DACA program who is now very frightened about what will happen to her so much so that she tried to change alter her educational goals so that she could graduate early in case she was deported. Nevertheless, the educator persuaded her, since she worked so hard, to continue to take her classes as planned because none of us know exactly what lays ahead.

The future of the DACA beneficiaries was the topic of conversation at our last event of the day which was a meeting of concerned citizens at the "Pilgrim Congregational Church" in Tremont.

At this time, the honored guests were Ms. Patty Mendez, a Lakeland student who received a scholarship from Ms. Margaret W. Wong, and Mr. Jose Mendez, the Cleveland Director and Founder of "DreamActivist Ohio" who are both dreamers and shared their stories with us.

Since there was domestic abuse in Ms. Mendez' family, her personal story was the more harrowing but on this front things have very much stabilized since her early years. However, even though her mother has applied for a "U" visa and reports periodically to the authorities as ordered, Ms. Mendez is still very concerned that her mom could be deported due to the current political climate.

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Ms. Patty Mendez, herself, is currently working and attending classes at Lakeland Community College. Her goal is to have a career in the criminal justice field. She also spends a lot of time speaking out on behalf of herself and other DACA beneficiaries who want the opportunity realize their potential and by doing so give back to the community.

Mr. Jose Mendez (no relation at all to Patty) is a real go-getter who puts his determination to good use and we were inspired by his recollections of how, after becoming a DACA beneficiary, he lead a successful drive to ensure that DACA beneficiaries be granted temporary driver's licenses. In addition, he made creative use of social media to get himself and some fellow dreamers a meeting with U.S. Senator Rob Portman in Washington, D.C. after being initially turned down.

Both Mr. Jose Mendez and Ms. Patty Mendez are politically savvy people who know that it will be tough to obtain a "clean" Dream Act that will give them a permanent status and a pathway to citizenship instead of the "quick fix" that will make them check in year after year which is currently favored by many Washington, D.C. politicos. But they still are optimistic that something could be included within a huge spending bill that is currently being manufactured to be voted on in the next two weeks. They reason that the Republicans need Democratic votes in order to pass it and a "clean" Dream Act just might be a bargaining chip.

They also realize that comprehensive immigration reform is very badly needed and thus consider a "clean" Dream Act to be a constructive first step towards it.

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLCCha

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