On Saturday morning, November 13th, we drove over to the Bohemian National Hall on Broadway Avenue to enjoy the 2021 Annual Czech Holiday Fair presented by Sokol Greater Cleveland.
As its website reads, India Festival USA is an “annual event that attempts to bridge cultures, generations, and communities through one-day of togetherness…
To commemorate the occasion, Mayors Frank G. Jackson of Cleveland, Gregory P. Kurtz of Independence, and Samuel J. Alai of Broadview Heights all issued proclamations that acknowledged the significance of Diwali as one of the most cherished festivals not only in India but internationally and that people who immigrated to the United State from India and the Asian countries are the largest ethnic group of immigrants in Northeast Ohio.
In the spirit of bridging cultures, the highlight of the afternoon was the recognition Miss Dariana Rivera Ortiz and Miss Cecile Diaz Hernandez as the two top-finishers in the Miss Latina Image Leadership Program at the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center.
Ms. Yasin Cuevas, the program director, explained to us that the purpose of the exercise (i.e. for young women ages thirteen to seventeen) is “to inspire, educate, and empower the participants to achieve their full potential.”
Upon our arrival, we were greeted enthusiastically by our friend Mr. Bharat Kumar who does a great job coordinating the festival each year. Mr. Kumar told us that it was a shame but due to Covid-19 safety precautions the number of attendees had to be restricted to only one hundred.
Among the special guests were Ms. Leticia Lopez, Executive Director of the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center; Mr. Ed Romero, Manager of Office of Risk Management for the City of Cleveland; and Ms. Erin Lalley, Assistant to Mayor Michael P. Byrne of Parma Heights and soon-to-be Director of the Parma Senior Center.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for the Diwali Celebration but Mr. Navender Nadeem closed section of the program that we attended with a beautiful poem, written by himself, which contended that the act of shaking hands is good but not as important as a “greeting of the hearts” which certainly took place that afternoon.