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Brunch a La Vietnam Fundraiser; PFLAG-Cleveland Picnic At The Bain Park Picnic Pavilion; Liszt Concert in the Cleveland Hungarian Cultural Gardens

IMG_2458On Sunday, June 26th, we tabled for Margaret W. Wong and Associates at the "Brunch a La Vietnam" which was a fundraiser for the Vietnamese Cultural Garden that took place at Saigon Plaza on Detroit Avenue from 10am to 4pm.

According to Ms. Mari Galindo-DaSilva, who was keeping a count, 103 people attended this event throughout the day. Ms. Margaret W. Wong, herself, stopped by for a while and other people we know who were there when we were there were Ms. Debbie Hanson, Mr. Pierre Bejjani, Mr. George Burke, Mr. Johnny Wu, IMG_2455Mr. Asim Datta, Mr. Harry Weller, Ms. Nada Martinovic, and Mr. Ken Kovach. Mr. Joe Cimperman of Global Cleveland even brought his whole family.

The menu of the day consisted of Sizzling Pancake, Banh Mi, Noodles with Lemongrass Pork, Fruit Cups, and Vietnamese Coffee of which we had two glasses. We really appreciated it when Ms. Phuong Lam took the time to walk over to our table and hand us a delicious veggie sandwich on a nice hot roll.

This affair was presented by the Friendship Foundation of American-Vietnamese so we wanted to mention as many IMG_2460people as possible who worked on this. Thus, we sat down with Ms. Oanh Powell, its Vice Chairperson, and reviewed the names. Thanks goes out to Ms. Powell, herself, Ms. Galindo-DaSilva, Joe Meissner,  Gia Hoa Ryan, Ms. Lam, Uyen Dam, Liana Powell, Vinh Nguyen, Truc Phuong, Tuyet Nguyen, Mr. Tyler Powell, Hang Luong, and Mr. Kevin Tran.

We also want to give a special thank you to Ms. Bettina Meissner who tabled next to us and kept us company.

We left our information table standing at the Vietnamese Brunch (we went back and took it down around 3pm) when we left for our second event of the day which was the annual PFLAG-Cleveland picnic which was at the Bain Park Picnic Pavilion on Eaton Road in Fairview Park.

We arrived with some deviled egg potato salad and Ms. Sharon Groh-Wargo, PFLAG's president, presented us witIMG_2464 h a funny little cap to wear on our head.

Needless to say, everyone was greatly troubled by the Orlando attack so a conversation was initiated about responsible gun ownership in which a man named Randy eloquently stated his views and gave us a lot to think about.

As far as LGBT issues, this was an important day because exactly one year ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. During the brief program, we IMG_2468heard from Reggie and Shane, two people who are working hard on a project called "Freedom for All Americans" wherein they go from door-to-door and talk to people about the need to secure nondiscrimination protects for LGBT people. In just two weekends, their group has conducted 200 conversations and the goal is 1,000 by summer's end.

Along these lines, we learned that one person who deserves particular praise is Cleveland City Councilman Jeff Johnson who gave a very effective speech on behalf of gender-neutral bathrooms which was instrumental in getting the Cleveland City Council to pass favorable legislation.

Our last event of the day was a Liszt Concert in the Cleveland Hungarian Cultural Gardens. We arrived a bit late so IMG_2489 we missed the introductions but still got to hear the performers from the Aurora School of Music deliver stirring renditions via the piano, cello, violin and voice.

These talented people were Ms. Luwen Chen, Ms. Marina Kerze, Ms. Vera Holczer , Mr. Kyle Kelvington, Mr. Chauncey Aceret, and Ms. Leah Kosmin.

We learned that Ms. Holczer is both the founder and director of the Aurora School of Music and that she immigrated to the United States from Hungary.IMG_2476

Ms. Holczer set the right tone for the day when she said of one of her students that she never expected me to drag her here today to perform "but that is life-adventures!"

(The student she was referring to, did an excellent job and received a hearty round of applause)


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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