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Lunar New Year Celebration with Asians and Friends

On Saturday night we attended a Lunar New Year celebration that was put on by Asians and Friends at the Emperor's Palace Restaurant on Rockwell Avenue in Cleveland. As Mr. Rollie Santos explained, Asians and Friends is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving the Asian Culture in the LGBT community. Each year a donation/gift is given to an organization that supports the LGBT community and this year the recipient was "Why Marriage Matters." We have attended several of their functions and believe that it was an excellent choice. The official of "Why Marriage Matters" who was supposed to accept the gift couldn't make it to Cleveland from Columbus due to the snowy highways but Mr. Lance Colie accepted the gift and praised "Why Marriage Matters" for keeping the conversation going on gay marriage because, as Mr. Colie said, "the more it is discussed the more people are open to it."

We shared our dinner table with Ms. Marie Kilbane-Seckers of the Ohio Lottery Commission and her husband and had a good before-dinner conversation with them. Also sitting at our table were Ms. Marnie Sweet of the Inner Mongolia Society of Northeast Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gross; Ms. Natalie Naumann; Ms. Diane R. Dierker; now retired Professor Leslie Fisher of CSU who is an old friend of Ms. Wong's; Mr. Swagata Banik; Mr. Henry Ng who also knows Ms. Wong; and Mr. Robert Asch. We knew many of the people there through our activities with PFLAG, Plexus, the LGBT Center and Gay Games 9.

Due to us being vegetarians, we had a specially prepared meal of hot, spicy soup with tofu which was excellent while the more carnivorous attendees enjoyed a scrumptious meal of chicken, beef and pork. Later in the evening, there was a raffle and cultural entertainment.

We learned that Asians and Friends has about 45 dues paying members and is celebrating its 25th anniversary. As Mr. Michael Chew, one of its officers who has known Ms. Wong for many years, said, "we're hanging in there!"

The other event that we attended that evening after we left the Lunar New Year celebration was a Human Rights Campaign party, "Pretty in Red and Pink-A Post Valentine's Day Bash" held at an establishment named The Bevy in Birdtown located on Madison Avenue in Lakewood which was organized by Ms. Michelle Delizor from whom we received a hug because she remembered us from being active in Gay Games 9. The evening consisted of music, dancing, food, speed dating, and Ms. Delizor hosting a version of "the Newlywed Game" for couples who had been together for a while.

We met a woman who was also organizing a fundraiser so her autistic child could obtain a service dog. We purchased a ticket and look forward to attending next month.

We were very glad when Ms. Beth Scebbi, one of the owners of The Bevy in Birdtown, stopped by to make sure that all of the patrons were being properly served because she cares so much. We left after about an hour but, by all evidence, most people were enjoying themselves and the party was a success.

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