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Out & About in Cleveland

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The Indian Classical Musical Society and Home Sweet Cleveland

On Saturday, November 29th, we stopped off at the Parma/Snow Road branch of Cuyahoga County Library for a program called "Gratitude in Motion" which was put on by the Indian Classical Music Society that featured a performance by Mr. Sanjib Bhattacharya who is a Manipuri Dancer from New Delhi visiting Cleveland through the invitation of the Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble at University Circle United Methodist Church. Mr. Bhattacharya told us that he loved working on an African project at the church and it is all about connecting with God, whether it be in a temple or at a church, as people interpret him. He also has been working with young people at the Rainey Institute and has particularly enjoyed working with seniors at the Judson Manor because he really believes that everyone can dance according to their own abilities. Thus, he even taught some seniors to dance with the help of their chairs.

Mr. Bhattacharya considers himself to be a citizen of the world and believes that dance has the power and the potential to connect different communities.

As we were watching his performance, we sat next to a woman named Zohra who had immigrated to the United States from Calcutta in 1994. She studied at the University of Cincinnati where she met her husband, Ram, and after graduation they moved to Birmingham, Alabama before eventually settling in the Cleveland area. They now have three beautiful small children which is one of the reasons that they were here on this day; Zohra had read about the event in an Indian newspaper and wanted to expose her children to the Indian culture.

We spent a few minutes visiting with our friend Ms. Sujata Lakhe Barnard who is the Treasurer of the Indian Classical Music Society and the organizer of this day's event. Ms. Barnard told us that the purpose of the organization is to promote the Indian culture through the classical arts such as dance, music and yoga. It also has a music school where people can learn to play an Indian instrument.

Ms. Barnard said that the Society has four events a year featuring various artists and this would be the last such event for 2014 but it was, from the standpoint of everyone who was there, a good one to end the year with and we look forward to more in 2015.

Our other event for Saturday was the 4th annual "Home Sweet Cleveland" networking event presented by Global Cleveland and the Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) both of which are supported by Margaret W. Wong and Associates.

This event was held at the Wyndham Hotel on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland and was partnered with Cleveland's annual tree lighting celebration, Winterfest, for which scores of people were gathering in increasing numbers outside.

One of the first people that we spoke with was Mr. Dartanian "Doc" Warr, a 2011 graduate of the CLC who explained that this event was deliberately held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving because a lot of people would be visiting friends and family in Cleveland for the holiday and might be amenable to moving here if only they could make the right connections. Thus, this networking event was designed with this goal in mind.

Ms. Joy Roller, President of Global Cleveland, and Ms. Marianne Crosley, President of CLC, said that they wanted people to consider moving to Cleveland and making it their home. Mr. Tom Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Sherwin-Williams, said that Cleveland was a "21st century city in Renaissance."

We got to talk with old friends like Dr. Akram Boutros, President and CEO of Metrohealth, and Ms. Stefanie Sphear; Founder, CEO, and Editor of Ecowatch and Ms Gloria Ware of Jumpstart.

We also made some new ones like:

***Mr. Chris Simmons and Ms. Monica Laco Simmons, a newly married couple who both work in marketing and would like to explore moving to Cleveland. Ms. Simmons, herself, is from here and in high school was involved with "Look Up to Cleveland" which is a leadership development and diversity awareness program conducted under the auspices of the CLC.

***A young man named Marc from the University of Buffalo who immigrated to the United States three years ago from Syria and had been working with a CLC service program for the past several days doing such things as helping out at a women and children's shelter and delivering Thanksgiving meals with St. Augustine. He may apply to the dental school at Case Western because he really likes Cleveland. It his observation that Cleveland is trying to move forward in a way that other places are not.

***Dr. Peter Reimers and his wife, Ms. Carina Reimers who immigrated to the United States from Germany with their family about six years ago. They have their Green Cards and like Cleveland a lot. In fact, Ms. Reimers really hit the target when she said that, "Cleveland has a lot of potential. It is just finding people to fulfill that potential."

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