Historic Fourth Inauguration Ceremony of Mayor Frank G. Jackson
We started off the new year of 2018 by attending the "Historic Fourth Inauguration Ceremony of Mayor Frank G. Jackson" at 10am on Tuesday, January 2nd, in the Rotunda at Cleveland City Hall.
Before we drove over, we double checked ourselves by doing a computer search on ceremonies taking place at Cleveland City Hall on this day and came across an item that said at 9am the mayor would swear-in our friend Mr. Duane Deskins as Cleveland's first Chief of Prevention, Intervention, and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults in the Mayor's Red Room. We knew that Mr. Deskins currently held an important position but he is always moving up so we assumed that this was something new. Thus we figured that this would all take place before the mayor's inauguration so we arrived early at Cleveland City Hall to watch Mr. Deskins be sworn-in as well as the mayor. Soon we encountered Ms. Valerie McCall, Chief of Government and International Affairs, who looked at our info on our iphone and pointed out that the date on the press release was 2017 and Mr. Deskins had held that position for a year now. Later we ran into Mr. Deskins and we had a good laugh over our guffaw.
Our mistake worked to our advantage, however, because we were able to obtain a good parking spot at Cleveland City Hall, secure our choice of seats in the Rotunda, and visit with people before the ceremony. Among those we talked to was Pastor Jose Reyes of Iglesia Nueva Vida (Church of the New Life) who would later give the Benediction. Pastor Reyes told us that he was an old friend of Ms. Margaret W. Wong and had referred several people to her over the years.
When it was time to take our seats, we sat next to Ms. Charlene Augustine whose family owned "Augustine's Deli" near 65th Street and Detroit Avenue for many years. Ms. Augustine told us how much she admired Mayor Jackson and had actively supported him in all four of his mayoral campaigns. When we asked her about which of his accomplishments that she particularly admired she said, "look at downtown, it never looked so good!" She went on to praise the mayor for his sincerity and honesty.
The program itself began with the official "Welcome" being given by Ms. Neela Narine, a 7th grader at "Campus International School" who talked about how she much appreciated the mayor's visit to her school where they engaged in a conversation. Ms. Narine was touched because she realized that there were a lot of important people virtually waiting in line to have a conversation with Mayor Jackson but still managed to find the time to have one with her.
Then Sgt. Kennedy Jones of the Cleveland Police Dept. lead us all in the singing of our National Anthem. Sgt. Jones has a beautiful voice indeed and later, towards the end of the ceremony, he sang a solo of the song "Stand" by Mr. Donnie McClurkin, the gospel singer, as a tribute to our mayor and his courage.
An invocation was given by Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness, Senior Pastor of the "Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church", who reminded us that no one in the history of Cleveland had ever been elected to a fourth term as mayor before Mayor Jackson and so "there must be something special about this iconic man." He, himself, believed that the mayor was a person of integrity, honesty, character, and moral rectitude.
Judge Patricia A. Blackmon, Court of Appeals of Ohio of the Eighth Appellate District, was chosen to swear in Mayor Jackson. Before she did so, she reminisced about how far back she and the mayor went back many years to a time when she was a prosecutor and he worked as a clerk while attending law school. She smiled as she shared with us that she had always been initially discouraging of the mayor's early political ventures but he still won the elections and always asked her to swear him in.
On this day, after taking the oath from Judge Blackmon, Mayor Jackson spoke for a few minutes (we have observed that it is his style as a speaker is to be brief but effective) about how far Cleveland has come in the last twelve years and noted that budgets have been consistently balanced, the central business district has been rebuilt, investments have been made in our infrastructure and we have hosted important events like the 2016 RNC as well as international happenings. Moreover, we have adopted a can-do attitude as opposed to our previous condition wherein we complained about how bad we had it and couldn't understand why anyone would want to come here.
As he has said before in other speeches, Mayor Jackson promised that his goal for the next four years would be to ensure that people of all economic standings would be able to share in Cleveland's prosperity. He believes that this is necessary in order to us to be a great city; if this doesn't happen our current success will be short-lived and unsustainable. Among the areas that must be focused on are education, economic development and empowerment, and public safety.
Mayor Jackson concluded by saying, "we can do this and we will do this but it will take all of us working together. Our time is now so let's get to work and get this done!"
Dr. Kenneth W. Chalker, Senior Pastor of "University Circle United Methodist Church" gave a "Special Prayer for the City of Cleveland" in which he stated that we are fortunate to be blessed with such great mayor as Mayor Jackson who not only stays the course but understands the course and helps others to master it too.
It was then time to close with Pastor Reyes' benediction. He prayed that these next four years be among the best ever for our city and that we be blessed with prosperity and unity.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC