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Sparking Change in Cleveland's Latino Community


On Friday evening, after the City Club event, we stopped briefly at the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center in its new location on Cleveland's Archwood Avenue. They were holding a Spark the Change program on their outside steps. This event was one in the PACCT (Power of Art, Culture, and Community Together) series that celebrates life through arts and culture for the purposes of education and empowerment.


As Mr. Gerardo Colon, Jr., who has a long history of involvement at Julia De Burgos, said at the start of the meeting, several things have taken place/are taking place that have harmed people and communities. Therefore, this evening would be about addressing these challenges and inspiring people to take constructive action to heal the pain and move forward. Issues addressed were:

  • Immigration
  • The drug epidemic
  • Impact of Hurricane Maria
  • Violence (in particular, gun violence) 

Attendees were enlightened by educational speakers, poetry, and musical performances addressing these topics.

Regarding immigration, Mr. Marc Alvarado from the InterReligious Task Force on Central America spoke about the desperate conditions in several Latin American countries which have forced inhabitants to search for a better life elsewhere.

We couldn't stay for the entire program, but one of the people we enjoyed talking with while we were there was a woman named Lisa who immigrated to the United States from Germany about 50 years ago. She worked as a florist in downtown Cleveland for many years before she retired. Lisa told us she raised two sons who became attorneys, so she pays attention to what's going on in the world and was thus motivated to attend this gathering.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison

Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC



Aimee Jannsohn