5th Annual Station Hope
On Saturday evening, May 5th, we went to St. John's Episcopal Church near Ohio City to attend Cleveland Public Theatre's 5th Annual "Station Hope" which we look forward to attending each year.
"Station Hope" is described in part on its website as "a jubilant community event that celebrates Cleveland's social justice history and explores contemporary struggles for freedom and equity. Engage with 250 artists as they envision, interrogate, and deek out hope on the grounds of Cleveland's first authenticated Underground Railroad site, St. John's Episcopal Church. Audiences explore the historic properties while viewing works of theatre, music, storytelling, and dance inspired by the most important issues of our time."
Unfortunately, by the time we arrived and found a parking spot (the one drawback to the entire night) opening ceremonies were already underway but we liked what we heard over the microphone as we were approaching which was a question regarding what would we like our legacy to be after we have passed; the person (we didn't see who it was but it was a thoughtful individual) asked us to consider this before we left "Station Hope" that night and, indeed, it set the tone for the entire adventure.
Throughout the evening we encountered several of our friends including Mr. Patrick Kearns who was tabling on behalf of "The Refugee Response"; Ms. Natoya J. Walker Minor, Chair of Public Affairs for the City of Cleveland who saw us at the "Cinco de Mayo" celebration at Cleveland City Hall the day before; Ms. Leticia Lopez from the "Julio De Burgos Cultural Center" who promised to contact us soon about an upcoming event;Ms. Debbie Kline with "Cleveland Jobs for Justice" who mentioned that our colleague, Mr. George Koussa, attended one of its programs a few weeks prior.
Before we left, we went to the basement of the church for a "Beloved Community Dialogue" conducted by Ms. Kathryn Puckett and Ms. Eloise Wrean Fiebig who reminded us of the importance of St. John's Episcopal Church as perhaps the last stopping point for fleeing slaves attempting to escape to Canada. Ms. Puckett and Ms. Fiebig emphasized the importance of learning from the mistakes of the past (i.e. persecution of others) so that such errors will not be made in the future.
When it came time for sharing, a person who was a teacher talked about her experiences trying to curb the bullying that takes place within the schools at this time and we, ourselves, talked about similarities between the underground railroad and the sanctuary movement on behalf of undocumented immigrants that is taking place at this time.
Along these lines, we were very sorry that a performances that we missed was one entitled "Refugee Stories" in which Mr. Philip Metres presented what was described in the program notes as "a suite of poems taking us on a journey alongside refugees from Palestine, Vietnam, Iraq and Syria."
We did manage, however, to catch several of the theatrical performances and the one we liked the most entitled "The Power of Words" which was a brief but powerful one-person performance by Ms. Robin Pease based on a traditional Cherokee tale. It contained the message that we really need to consider the power of the words that we use and how it will affect the next generation; therefore, we need to be conscious of what we are saying and try to be positive and not disparaging.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC