Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cleveland's Black Culture & Community Interconnectedness

As a reporter I am always alert to those posts and stories that seem to find a special resonance with my readers. My best gauge comes from the people who take the time to respond either via the comment feature or by sending me an offline email.

I can say with assurance that the posts striking the broadest and deepest chords have usually been rooted in either a personal narrative experience [see here and here] or a compelling local issue.

But over the last couple of days, when I have resumed posting after a lengthy hiatus [initiated by a sudden, urgent, and consuming remunerative writing assignment, followed successively by recuperation, inertia, and then a personal family loss], I have been surprised by the number of “thank you’s” I have received for posting, even with late notice, about various community events.

I think the cumulative response speaks to a number of issues, including how under-reported positive activity in the black community is, and how refreshing it is to appreciate our diversity and heterogeneity.

Of equal and perhaps greater significance is that the evolution and dispersal of both the larger and the African American communities over the years has, coupled with the communications revolution,  wrought such change to our local world that being in touch is simultaneously easier and more difficult in ways that are challenging to appreciate and difficult to adjust to.

We are going to work on this disconnect by doing a better job ourselves at timely reporting upcoming community events. Most likely that will take the form of a regular weekly post. We invite you to send notices of your civic events to us here.

Meanwhile, here are two free, family-friendly events taking place later today:

“You Decide”, “Tu Decides”

 A faith-based rally, supported by leaders from more than sixty Hispanic Evangelical churches throughout Greater Cleveland, takes place today from 5-8PM, at the Saigon Plaza, 5400 Detroit Avenue, near Gordon Square.

Rally goers will worship, reflect, network, and become educated on how to become agents of change in order to address social and economic issues affecting the Hispanic community.

The rally is a product of a group of active Hispanic community folk who have united around motivating, organizing and mobilizing faith-based community members, especially Evangelicals, to become more engaged in civic and community matters, and specifically to help narrow the gap in voter participation among Hispanics and Latinos in Northeast Ohio.

TU DECIDES is open to the general public, and will include free food, free parking, and musical performances by local Hispanic Evangelical church bands throughout Greater Cleveland. Special guests will include Reverend Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NLEC), who will speak to Hispanic and Latino political participation from a national perspective. No candidates will be allowed to speak.

 “Voting and civic involvement … traditionally is  not encouraged within the church,” according to Pastor Jesus Laboy of Cleveland’s west side La Iglesia Elim.

The US Hispanic population now numbers more than 50 million, with over 60,000 Hispanics reportedly living in Cuyahoga County. Fewer than half of the county’s 28,000 registered Hispanic voters half turned out to vote in the 2008 Presidential election.

The Tu Decides event is expected to lead to political training sessions to be scheduled later this spring.

For more information, call 216.235.1578.

• • •
Madam C. J. Walker Extravaganza
Our good friend Prester Pickett, coordinator of the Howard A. Mims  African American Cultural Center at Cleveland State University, wrote us yesterday to tell us about today’s 2012 Madam C. J. Walker Extravaganza and its special tribute to Whitney Houston, Don Cornelius, and Etta James.

The free, family-friendly program — the “signature price” for most of Bro. Pickett’s AACC events — includes a special exhibition opening in celebration of black music, courtesy of the African American Professional Network at Rockwell Automation.

The program starts at 7PM will also be a special tribute to some legendary African American Clevelanders portrayed by students from CSU’s Campus International School.

Find more information online here.

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