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Out & About in Cleveland

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Reception for the Consortium of African American Organizations

On Friday night we attended two receptions but happily they were in close proximity to each other so we could run back and forth which we did. Firs,t we went to a reception at the Karamu House on East 89th Street that was put on by the Consortium of African American Organizations (CAAO) along with the National Black MBA Association. The latter was represented by Ms. Shaquira Johnson, President of the Cleveland Northeast Ohio Chapter who we really enjoyed meeting. The representatives of CAAO were Mr. William Holdipp, Jr. and his wife, Ms. Constance Atkins.

Ms. Atkins was the Chair of the World Trade Conference held in 1995 when she first met Ms. Margaret W. Wong who helped some of her friends immigrate to the United States from South Africa. Mr. Holdipp was very concerned about the some 200,000 Haitians who might be expelled from the Dominican Republic thus we shared with him a couple of our contacts in Cleveland who assist refugees. He is also interested in establishing some relationships with foreign born business people living in Cleveland and has spoken to Global Cleveland about it.

Also at the reception were Ms. Meredith Turner from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown's office and Ms. Patty Quinonez, Ameriprise Financial Advisor. We had a good visit with Ms. Quinonez and Mr. Reginald A. Owens, a Training and Development Specialist who owns his own business, about Cleveland's history specifically when former U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich was mayor.

The designated running time for this reception was from 6pm to 8pm but we arrived a little early and left about 6:40pm to attend our second event for the night.

This second event was a welcome reception for the 7th Ohio Asian American Health Conference scheduled to take place on Saturday. The reception was held on the second floor of Asian Town Center right in front of the International Community Health Center. It started at 6pm and we made it over there by 7pm. About 40 people turned out for it and there was plenty of food, entertainment, and socializing.

Just as we arrived, a short program was starting so we got to hear brief speeches about the health concerns of the Asian community and the services that the Health Center has to offer from Ms. Sujata Burgess, Dr. Sheng Liu, and Cleveland Health Commissioner Myron D. Bennett.

A few minutes later Ms. Lynnette Stevens, Director of Minority Affairs for the State of Ohio arrived and assured us that very close attention will be paid to the findings of the Initiative of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

We talked for a moment to Ms. Cora Munoz, President of the Ohio Asian American Health Initiative, who told us to be sure to thank Ms. Margaret W. Wong for her consistent support.

We also met Mr. Aditya Giridhar, who will be interning at Margaret W. Wong and Associates. He seemed like a very bright young man who will be an asset to our firm while he is with us.

As we were leaving we spoke for a moment to Mr. Wayne Wong who told us that this reception was put together a very short while ago by Ms. Lisa Wong who is the coordinator of the Ohio Asian Health Conference on Saturday. Ms. Wong thought it would be a good idea if the participants got together to relax and get to know each other before the conference which will be quite intensive.

So we returned to the Karamu House where the people at the reception were getting ready to watch a production of "The Wiz" which was as crowded as it could be. In fact, we had to sit on one of the extra seats in the back.

Before the musical started, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Holdipp took the stage along with Ms. Cassandra Wheeler, the Group Sales Associates. Ms. Johnson said that she was thinking of doing something like this (i.e. the reception and the performance) for the National Black MBA Association and then she found out that Mr. Holdipp was thinking of doing something like this for CAAO so they decided to pool their resources and, subsequently, "the power of collaboration is awesome!"

Ms. Wheeler then smiled and asked if we were all ready to "ease on down the road" which is the most famous song from "The Wiz"