On Thursday, April 17th, where we were privileged to table at the 5th Annual Culture Shock event held in the Galleria at Tri-C West in Parma. There were about 30 tables there featuring exhibits of cultural heritage from such countries as Romania, Puerto Rico, China, Arabia, and the Ukraine to name but a few. Dr. Susan Lohwater, the main coordinator of the event, told us that "the goal of Culture Shock is ultimately to achieve understanding and respect among different cultures and religions and to showcase various community resources such as Margaret Wong's office." Dr. Lohwater considered that day's event to be "an immense success."
We ran into a lot of old friends like Lisa Wong of OCA Cleveland, Cindy Vue of Asian Services in Action, and Cindy David who is the Executive Producer of Raqs to Joy which celebrates the beauty and the art of belly dancing. Raqs to Joy performed on stage for us for a little while also. All told, the event lasted from noon until 4pm and must have been attended by several hundred students of all ages.
Best of all, though, was the guest speaker who happened to be our very dear friend, Julia A. Shearson who is the Executive Director/Litigation Assistant of the Cleveland Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations/CAIR Ohio who delivered a very impassioned presentation about Islam and Islamaphobia.
"This type of event is the first step in a process of encouraging interaction between different groups." said Dr. Lohwater, "by means of the fascinating information tables and the exciting entertainment and the nesssary talk on Islam and Islamophobia, we attracted many students who normally do not interact with other cultures."