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ICE Vigil and Plexus LGBTQ and Allied Chamber of Commerce Meeting

 Pastors Brooke Baker and Kelly Burd

Pastors Brooke Baker and Kelly Burd

After we left the candidates forum on Thursday, we went to the ICE headquarters in Brooklyn Heights to attend a prayer vigil organized, as was stated in an email that we received, as "the first of an ongoing effort to have a regular presence at ICE to protest their inhumane and cruel treatment of immigrants. It is sponsored by an Immigration Coalition which includes HFOH, IRTF, Forest Hill Church, Pilgrim Church, La Sagrada Familia, DSA, and Jobs with Justice.

On this particular day, Pastors Kelly Burd and Brooke Baker from Pilgrim Congregational Church presided over the vigil which was attended by about 20 people. Hopefully, as time goes by, an assortment of clergy from various faiths will take turns conducting these actions which are planned to take place at the ICE headquarters each week. 

In the course of the prayers, it was asked that our nation's moral compass be restored "so that each one of us will recognize that our well being is tied to that of our neighbors, regardless of where they are from or how long they have been here...lead leaders of ALL nations to work together for peace and for the common good, not just of our citizens, but for the common good of citizens everywhere."

The vigil lasted only a half hour but we felt it was poignantly effective. When it concluded, we went to the Westin Hotel in downtown Cleveland to attend the summer network night of Plexus, the LGBT and Allied Chamber of Commerce.

Of course spirits were high and rightfully so over the Cuyahoga County Council's passage of an ordinance making discrimination against LGBTQ people illegal. As a notice we received from Plexus read, "while 20 municipalities in Ohio have done so already, Cuyahoga is the first county in the state to provide these protections. With this passage, 27% of all Ohio residents now live in areas with LGBTQ non-discrimination protections." 
(see https://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/09/cuyahoga_county_council_passes_1.html/)

We were not there in the chambers of the County Council when the ordinance was passed but several people from Plexus were. Accordingly, we had an informative conversation with Reverend Pamela Brown of Let's Pray Ministries, who actually was present in support of the ordinance, about what took place.

Another person that we encountered while we were at the Plexus gathering was Ms. Gail Palmer of Palmer Event Solutions whom we complimented on organizing the wonderful Drink Local.Drink Tap, Inc. event that we attended the previous week. You can read our article about it on this same blog. Ms. Palmer said a lot of that was due to her colleague Mr. Erron Toppin, and the two of them posed for a photo.

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While we were there, we also chatted with a young man named Richard who is a Immigration Program Analyst with the U.S. Department of Labor and very much aware of the positive reputation of Ms. Margaret W. Wong.

Along these lines, we met a young woman named Almira who was familiar with Ms. Wong also. The reason for this is that a good number of years ago members of her family immigrated to the United States from Palestine with the help of Ms. Wong. Almira told us that her family especially respected Ms. Wong due to her capabilities and her honesty; they believe Ms. Wong to be straightforward and not one to make empty promises.

Justin Faulhaber