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Tabling at the La Sagrada Familia Parrish Latin American Festival

We spent most of Saturday and Sunday, June 10th and 11th, tabling on behalf of "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" at the La Sagrada Familia Parrish Latin American Festival located on the parrish grounds at West 77th Street and Detroit Avenue. We wanted to be part of the festival because La Sagrada Familia Parrish is the church home to many people who have immigrated to the United States from the Hispanic countries namely Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, and Puerto Rico and we really appreciated the help of Ms. Edna Fuentes-Casiano, one of the key festival figures, in signing us up.

Most of the time we were joined at our table by Ms. Ruth Rubio-Pena, the new Hispanic Liaison from our office which was good because she spoke the language and was able to relate to the many people who stopped off at our table. Quite a few of those who stopped to say "hello" to us were glad to be given a copy of Ms. Margaret W. Wong's book, "The Immigrant's Way" or, translated into Spanish, "El Camino Del Immigrante" and we estimated that we gave away perhaps 20 copies. Among the grateful recipients were:

***Mr. Ignacio Miranda, a Deacon with the Church, who came over by and wished us a good day because he sincerely believed that by being welcoming he is a better person and this leads to living a full, happy productive life as well as making the person being welcomed happier too. The weekend was uncomfortably hot so we appreciated Mr. Miranda's good spirits.

***Ms. Margarita Serena, who is one of the original founders of the La Sagrada Familia Parrish. Ms. Serena proudly told us of how she immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was 17 years old and now has 5 children and 9 grandchildren who are all registered voters.

***Ms. Iris Marengo who was pleased to obtain a copy of Ms. Wong's book because she is very much interested in immigration issues and faithfully attends the "Walk for Justice" each year as an expression of her support for comprehensive immigration reform.

***Mr. Miguel Figueroa who is very involved in local chapter of the Knights of Columbus. He wanted a copy of the book because he "wants to know what is going on."

***Ms. Marilyn Kuczynski who has been a consistent volunteer next door at St. Augustine Health Center for the past 25 years. Ms. Kuczynski is of Polish descent and wants to know more about the history of immigration as it pertains not only to her family but those of her multicultural friends.

***Ms. Olga Colon, whose husband is a Deacon with the Church, and she herself is very involved in the social action committee. Ms. Colon is from Puerto Rico and has volunteered to assist those struggling with matters pertaining to immigration.

***Mr. Jorge Farrat, Family Service Professional Spanish Coordinator with the "Craciun Berry Funeral Home" was pleased to be given a copy because by reading it he will be better able to relate to his clientele and to the various ethnic communities of Cleveland.

Tabling with Mr. Farrat from the Craciun Funeral Homes (located right in back of us) were our friend Mr. James Craciun, Mr. John Craciun, and Ms. Margie MartinezStaffing an information table located right in front of us on behalf of "Cuyahoga County Jobs and Family Services" were Ms. Gloria Jones and Mr. Ricardo Pena. On Saturday, another tabler was Mr. Michael Mack from "Dollar Bank" who has been at this festival several times before.

Ms. Jazmin Santana, Cleveland City Council candidate for Ward 14, and her volunteers were there for a large portion of the weekend. Other local politicos who visited the festival while we were there were Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson; Ms. Jazmin Torres-Lugo, Candidate for Cleveland Municipal Court; and Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Jimmy L. Jackson, Jr. and his family.

Finally a consistent presence at the festival was, of course, Father Robert Reidy of La Sagrada Familia Parrish who has been accurately described as a very strong advocate for the immigrant community in Cleveland. In fact, in his letter to all festival goers that appeared in the souvenir program, Father Reidy wrote, "this year we are dedicating our thoughts and our prayers to our brothers and sisters who are immigrants and refugees. These groups are made up of people who had to leave their homelands and families to come to a land that offers safety and opportunity. They flee violence, injustice and hunger. As Christians we are reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan who helped an unknown person from a strange place. He went over and above what was required. May our hearts and minds be open to them!"

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC