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From East to West - Diversity, Solidarity, and Frivolity

During the course of the weekend of Friday, July 13 through Sunday, July 15, we tabled on behalf of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC at two events: Painesville Party in the Park  on all three days and the Lakewood Summer Meltdown on Saturday afternoon. We have tabled at both events over the last several years.

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At Party in in the Park our booth was located right next to that of Mr. Don and Ms. Julie Clayman, owners of Ohio Sugar and Spice, which makes some creatively delicious dips with such names as Hazardous Habanero, Trinidad Scorpion, and Super Sriracha Ranch. Needless, to say we sampled a lot of them throughout the weekend and enjoyed getting to know Mr. and Mrs. Clayman.

Just a few booths down was Shen Yun Performing Arts promoting the show that will be coming to Cleveland in the early part of 2019. And right across from us was a vendor named Alex who was selling shirts, hats, flags, and all kinds of apparel. When he saw we worked for an immigration law firm, he showed us a lovely flag celebrating DACA that he had designed himself.

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Throughout our time there we were visited by quite a few people, and those we would like to mention were:

  • A very nice lady named Jeanne who recognized the name of Ms. Wong and of whom she told us she has tremendous respect. She was very appreciative when we gave her a copy of Ms. Wong's book, The Immigrant's Way. When we discussed the immigration policies advocated by the current administration, Jeanne said she was "speechless" about what is going on at this time.
  • A retired commercial artist named Walt who had once referred a friend from Korea to our office for assistance with an immigration matter.
  • A woman named Laura who told us that her daughter-in-law is a refugee from Vietnam and a very strong mover in an organization named Sea of Solidarity, which assists refugees. Laura urged all of us at Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC to keep up the good work because a lot needs to be done.
  • A man named Bill who was on the St. Mary's prayer walk (as were we) two weeks ago. He told us about how his grandparents immigrated to the United States from Hungary (in the 1900-1910 period) and passed through Ellis Island. Bill told us he had heard that the passage via ocean wasn't a very comfortable experience at all.
  • A person named Deborah who told us that she can accept people being frustrated about our current immigration system but believes that the Trump administration is handling it incorrectly. She was very conscientious of the fact that her own great-grandparents endured a lot to immigrate to the U.S. from Scotland and Ireland. She also told us she believes that the rumor about foreign-born people being untidy is not true at all; she was a neighbor of people who immigrated to the United States, and few people in her neighborhood kept up their homes or yards better.
  • A young man named Tristan who hung around the festival quite a bit that weekend with several of his friends. As it turns out, he is the son of Ms. Grecia Robles who works with us at Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC.   

In addition to tabling, we listened to several musical performances, including a really good one from The Neil Diamond Tribute Band. On Sunday afternoon, we really appreciated when Mr. Ryan Gilkerson, who was performing emcee duties, said that as he looked out upon the crowd  he was really touched by the diversity of the beautiful city of Painesville.

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As for the Lakewood Summer Meltdown, it wasn't until a short time before it happened that we realized we had signed up for two tabling events on the same day. But we still decided to go for it, armed with a marked-down patio umbrella we purchased on Saturday morning to protect us from the sun.

Thus, we tabled for a couple of hours in the morning at Painesville Party in the Park and then left our tent standing there with our banner displayed and headed off to Lakewood. There we set up and tabled for several hours, then dashed back to Painesville for the last part of the day.

Once we got to Lakewood, we set up our table and umbrella almost directly across from The Root Café on Detroit Avenue. This guaranteed us an excellent stream of passersby, including Lakewood City Councilperson John Litten (Ward 3), who wished us the best.

Just as we had with the Painesville event, we brought with us several bags of tangerines/clementines, which are always a welcome treat on a hot day.

Among those who stopped by to say hello while we tabled were:

  • An elderly gentleman who told us how a church had sponsored several people from Russia who had immigrated to the United States around 1990 during perestroika. He told us the process was "a lot harder than it looked."
  • A person who mentioned that she has a relative (through marriage) from Paraguay who is in the process of applying for a green card, and another party to whom she might refer the services of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC, as she knows someone from Canada who is currently residing in the U.S. and would like to stay permanently. In addition, someone told us they might call our office because they have questions about an F1 visa.
  • A man who told us he had once consulted Ms. Wong because he sought immigration assistance for a young lady he knew from England. Things turned out just fine; he ended up marrying the young lady, who was the mother of the boy accompanying him.

We have written that Lakewood is a very hospitable place for immigrants. Accordingly, we took a walk and came across a large chalkboard that encouraged people to write what they liked about Lakewood—and we wrote that it was "a progressive, welcoming community."

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison

Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC

 

 

 

Aimee Jannsohn