The weekend closed with an explosive bang on Sunday evening, February 10th with to our participation in a Stevie Wonder tribute titled “An Evening of Wonder,” organized in honor of Black History Month, at the Forest Hills Presbyterian Church on Monticello Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. Local singer Mr. Caleb Wright was the main performer, backed by about 15 other musicians and vocalists who all joined forces to perform a number of Stevie Wonder’s most cherished melodies including If You Really Love Me, Too High, Village Ghetto Land, Jesus Children of America, and As (Always).
Ms. Maya Curtis from the Cleveland Institute of Art opened by reading a brief biography of Stevie Wonder, for those few who were unfamiliar with him. Next, poet Ms. Tierra Khali shared with us her works concerning how being a person of color is special; she also highlighted the importance of an artist like Stevie Wonder, who transcended barriers and touched us all. Someone else spoke about Stevie Wonder’s efforts to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. a national holiday. We did not know it before, but he was involved from start to finish in the process.
Of course, the highpoint of the night was the wonderful music. It so moved everyone there that we were often on our feet clapping and swaying. Dr. Mark Joseph from CWRU (the keynote speaker at the Black History Month Opening at Cleveland City Hall) as well as Cleveland Heights Mayor Carol Roe, and Councilwoman Mary Dunbar were also in attendace. This is hardly surprising, since, as noted, this gathering was about social issues as well as music. We also loved meeting and chatting with Mr. Napoleon Dever, a 40-year member of United Auto Workers with an encyclopedic knowledge of Cleveland and the civil rights movement.
Just before closing, Forest Hills’ co-pastors the Reverend Doctors John C. Lentz and Veronica Goines reminded us that we are all children of God, regardless of race or background. Therefore, it is not our place to simply “stay in our lane” but to build an all-inclusive, multi-lane highway! Afterwards, we all danced out of the chapel to the beat of Sir Duke.