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2016 Hispanic Business Expo at Grace Church; Last Day of Ceramics Expo; 11th Annual Fair Housing Reception

On Thursday, April 28th, we started the day off with two events where we tabled and networked. The first one was the 2016 Hispanic Business Expo held at the Conference Center at Grace Church on Pearl Road in IMG_0519Cleveland. This event was put on by North East Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NEOHCC) and the Hispanic Business Center (HBC). We tabled there amongst 20 other exhibitors including old friends Ms. Rhonda Toth and Mr. Bill Appleton from Plexus and Ms. Suzanne Smaltz from Health Markets. Mr. Ed Hillmuth from Fifth Third Bank and Mr. Gonzalo Luis Egozcue from Gelato Star (Artisan Italian Ice Cream) remembered us tabling at last year's Expo.

 At this very time, we still had our table set up at the IX Center for the Ceramics Expo so, unfortunately, we had to leave the Hispanic Business Expo for a while to speed over to the IX Center to make sure our table there was okay.

 Of course it was, so we zoomed back to Grace Church. We missed the workshops that were being offered but our IMG_0522friend from Margaret W. Wong and Associates, Mr. George Koussa told us that he attended a very good one about employment law where issues pertaining to immigration were discussed.

 We stayed at the Hispanic Business Expo through lunch and got to visit with Mr. Jorge Farrat from TSJ Media. Mr. Farrat and his wife, Felisita, immigrated to the United States from Cuba six years ago. They are permanent residences now and really look forward to becoming U.S. citizens. Mr. Farrat really likes it in the U.S. because here we enjoy rights and liberties that his native countrydoes not have.

After lunch at Grace Church, we returned to the IX Center mainly to take down our booth and prepare to leave because the 28th was last day of the Ceramics Expo. Although 2:30pm was the official closing time, several exhibitors were leaving early too.

 We were determined to make good use out of the remaining time that we had there so we took one last walk amongst the other exhibitors and made about 10 new contacts before we left.

Mr. Sam Murray from Smarter Shows, which organized the expo, shook our hand and said that he hoped that we got a lot out of being there and wished us the best. We also shook hands with Mr. Michael A. Dashem from Piezo Kinetics, Inc. in Pennsylvania because we passed by his booth a lot and he was always very supportive of our efforts.We think that we did get a lot out of being there because (even though we haven't counted them yet) the stack of business cards that we collected while we were there stands just short of two inches high!

Our last event for the day was the 11th Annual Fair Housing Reception presented by the Housing Research and Advocacy Center whose mission is "to promote fair housing and diverse communities, and to work to eliminate housing discrimination in Northeast Ohio by providing effective research, education, and advocacy."

 It was held in The Gallery at Trinity Commons in Cleveland. When we arrived we talked for a moment with Mr. Jakob IMG_0534 Hochendoner, a filmmaker who was at work on a project titled "Disparate Impact" which will feature on-camera testimonials of 8 to 12 people who were denied housing due to past criminal activity. They ranged in age from 26 to 62 years. At this event, there was a TV monitor showing two of these testimonials. We look forward to watching more of them at "Rooms to Let: CLE" described in the program notes as "a two-day temporary art exhibit and community celebration in Cleveland's Slavic Village Neighborhood" on May 21st and 22nd.IMG_0529

 We also had good dialogues with Mr. Mike Brickner of the ACLU of Ohio, Ms. Anne Hydock from Skyline Event Services, and Mr. Paul Herdeg from the Department of Development of Cuyahoga County.

 Later, there was a brief program in which Mr. Carleton Moore!, President of the Board of Directors, introduced the new Executive Director, Ms. Carrie Pleasants who had been with the organization for years. Ms. Pleasants said that it wasn't easy to find the right balance of "compassion, discipline and tenacity" necessary IMG_0542to work for an organization like the Housing Center. She praised her staff and the board of directors for all of their hard work and support.

She then presented the 2016 Friend of Fair Housing Award to the Cleveland Tenants Organization (CTO) for "its longstanding service, commitment to social justice, and collaboration in the fight for fair housing!" Ms. Angela Shuckahosee, CTO's Executive Director, accepted the award and said that she regarded the Housing Center to be the "consummate partner" of the Cleveland Tenants Organization. She then took this a step further when she said that the Housing Center was the "bread and butter of fair housing" in the state of Ohio.


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.


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