CLEVELAND, Ohio — A week dedicated to promoting Cleveland as a welcoming city to immigrants is going virtual this year.
Richmond, Virginia native Cecil Lipscomb made Cleveland his home in the late 90s.
"I’ve come to love Cleveland; I didn’t know how to pronounce Cuyahoga when I first got here. I didn’t know what the big deal was about east side versus west side,” said Lipscomb.
Now as Executive Director of the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, he’s joining a panel with African American and African immigrant leadership as part of Global Cleveland’s virtual Welcoming Week. He's hoping to learn himself, while also educating others.
"What are some of the opportunities that we can benefit from by being in collaboration and cooperation with one another?" said Lipscomb. “I really do hope that out of this experience, that viewing, we’ll come away with the beauty of our diverse community.”
He’s one of more than 30 panelists taking part in the virtual event.
Joe Cimperman with Global Cleveland says Welcoming Week is an opportunity to make people’s stories and lives more visible.
“We are a community of immigrants, of newcomers, refugees, people who were born in another place and decided to make Cleveland and Northeast Ohio home. And so our whole point is to try to figure out how do we highlight them? How do we tell their stories? How do we tell the story of our community though their eyes and through the stories that they live and breathe through their lived experiences?” asked Cimperman, Global Cleveland's President.
The virtual Welcoming Week will explore many topics through panels with African American and African immigrant leaders, journalists, the Latinx and international community.
Also included are cooking demos and international music groups, celebrating Cleveland as a welcoming city.
“And the whole point of this is to really kind of break down any barriers we have that are going on in these conversations," said Cimperman, “if we all just take a second and think about somebody we know who was born somewhere else and make life easier, they’re going to communicate that to other people who are from outside the United States, and they’re going to start to put Cleveland on their map."