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Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice Celebrates International Women's Day; 11th annual Claddagh Ball

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On Saturday, March 11th, we attended two events that basically offered us the opportunity to interact with worthy people.

Our first event was a International Women's Day celebration put on by "Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice" in the afternoon at "Kan Zaman Restaurant" (where we often go for CAMEO meetings) on West 25th Street.

It was good seeing our old friend Ms. Sherrie Tolliver again. Ms. Tolliver is an accomplished actress who has done enactments of Ms. Rosa Parks, Ms. Mary Edmondia Lewis (noted sculptor), Madam C.J. Walker, (respected entrepreneur), and Ms. Jane Edna Hunter (who founded what would eventually evolve into the "Phillis Wheatley Association of Cleveland).

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On this day, Ms. Tolliver brought with her several friends to entertain us in a thought-provoking fashion. These people were Ms. Nina A. Domingue who read two poems by Ms. Alice Walker and Ms. Marge Piercy) while Ms. Kenya Woods did fascinating interpretative dances for both poems; and Ms. Eva Barrett who read poetry that she wrote herself.

Another person who lent her talents to the occasion was Miss Gabi Collier, the granddaughter of Mr. Don Bryant who organized the immigrant rights demonstration that several "Margaret W. Wong and Associates staffers attended on February 3rd, who sang a moving rendition of "Both Sides Now" by Ms. Joni Mitchell.

As Ms. Tolliver pointed out, Cleveland has a very vibrant artistic community which is also very socially concerned so "we want to make our voices heard."

Unquestionably, we believe that now is a good time to do so. As Ms. Wyn Antonio, who was the emcee of the program, correctly surmised, it was great to be gathered at "Kan Zaman" with new and old friends who are used to being out in the streets together making noise as all of us did on January 21st at the Women's March. Ms. Antonio went on to say that these are very "terrifying" times and that this kind of activism must continue.

Accordingly, on this occasion, two outstanding activists were honored who were Ms. Marge Townsend who has been involved in social justice causes her entire adult life and has recently focused on farm-related issues; and Ms. Hanan Mahmoud who helped to found the "Palestinian Children's Relief Fund" which helps obtain proper medical treatment for children in need.

Everyone was glad that Ohio State Rep. Nickie Antonio (Democrat-13th District) took time out of her very busy schedule to be there with us. Ohio State Rep. Antonio shared with us her concerns about the upcoming state budget and the cutbacks to such areas as education and public transit. She also did not like what it does in terms of "tax shifting" which means placing more of the burden on working class people.

Later on Saturday, we changed into our dark suit and drove to the West Side Irish American Club (WSIA) where we attended the 11th annual Claddagh Ball which is indeed a very elegant affair.

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Upon our arrival we tracked down and congratulated all of the people being honored at this time who were Ms. Mary Lou McNally (Woman of the Year), Mr. Larry O'Donnell (Man of the Year), Ms. Dianne Luther and Ms. Marge Flynn (Co-Volunteers of the Year), and Miss Callie Scott (2017 Queen). We asked Miss Scott what she hoped to accomplish during her reign and she told us that she wanted to devote whatever power she now possessed to ensure that everyone have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and we believe this be a worthy goal.  

We were sorry that Mr. Dan and Ms. Kathleen Chambers who worked so hard to put the ball together could not be with us because their son was on St. Edward's basketball team which was playing that of St. Ignatius that very night. We were happy for them though when the score was announced around 8pm that indicated that their team was doing well. 

At the time of the announcement, we were sharing a table with Ms. Bridie Joyce who laughed and said that members of the WSIA attended or had enrolled their children in both schools and games like this were like "holy wars" although they were all good sports about it. We loved sitting with Ms. Joyce and several of her friends who were Ms. Mary Ellen Grealis, Ms. Helen Malloy, and Ms. Mary Catherine Falle because all of them had been involved with the WSIA for years and were glad to share with us much of its history.

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We also got to meet a very Ms. Katherine Egan, a delightful person who was busy taking photos of the gala just as we were. Ms. Egan immigrated to the United States from Kerry in the south of Ireland about 55 years ago and was agreeable to be interviewed for "I, Foreign Born" but on this occasion, she was pleased to be seated with Mr. Tyler Tagliaferro who enjoyed playing the bagpipes for us at the beginning of the evening and his mother.  

Another person that we were privileged to meet were Mr. Peter Clark, the new General Manager of the Intercontinental Hotels in Cleveland who spoke to the attendees about his life (which begin on a farm in Ireland) and his career which has taken he and his family to such places as Shanghai. To be sure, he was very glad to be stationed here in Northeast Ohio and, as he told us privately, had met Ms. Margaret W. Wong at least a couple of events.

Finally, we made the acquaintance of Ms. Mary Hannifin, a guest of our friend Mr. Tom Scanlon, a longtime public servant in Ireland who has served in several capacities over the years including Minister of Education and Science. Ms. Hannifin talked her plans to visit several places in Cleveland over the next week and really liked the time she spent at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier in the day.

Ms. Hannifin (who we think is almost a dead ringer for the great actress Helen Mirren when she was a bit younger) chose this time to impart to all of the attendees who had immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland and their families that she hoped that they would come back and visit often because "the Ireland that you left behind is one that still shares the same values of love, friendship, and family."

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC