Today kicks off the first Welcoming Week in Cleveland. Hosted by Global Cleveland, the week offers a variety of events and special releases to celebrate immigrants in the community.
Joe Cimperman is the president of Global Cleveland. He says cities around the country have been doing these types of welcoming weeks, but this is the first one in Northeast Ohio.
“It’s really part of a larger effort to highlight the incredible importance and impact that immigrants, newcomers, refugees have on our community,” Cimperman says.
Global Cleveland lists the Welcoming Week Kick-off as happening around the city by showcasing global friendly employers. They have an interactive map on their website.
Global Cleveland kicked off the week by flying its flag in front of City Hall.
On Tuesday, the organization will host a “Passport Party” at Market Garden Brewery. Attendees are asked to bring their passports and show off their stamps that could win them prizes. They’ll also be able to receive a passport application, an application for renewal and a voter registration form.
Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father known for taking aim at then-candidate Trump during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, will also be in the city for a couple of events.
Khan is a constitutional lawyer who recently wrote a book about the constitution, This is our Constitution: What it is and Why it Matters. He’ll be signing books at the Cleveland Public Library on Tuesday. Khan came to the U.S. from Pakistan and will be sharing his story during a forum at the City Club on Wednesday.
On Sunday, the Cleveland Art Museum will release a self-guided tour of immigrant artists and Global Cleveland will release a Spotify playlist for the week on Monday.
“We’re gonna say to people, you know, get your week going with some really fun music from all over the world,” Cimperman says. “Music from all over the world that’s brought to you from people living here in Northeastern Ohio.”
The week will end on Sept. 20 with a naturalization ceremony in Solon at the Cuyahoga County Public Library.
Cimperman says his mother was an immigrant from Slovenia and he thinks about her experience when doing outreach with the organization.
“My mom would have these moments of great loneliness and I think that’s just part of the immigrant story in the United States,” he says. “And I think events like this not only tell the world that we’re open for business, that we welcome newcomers, that we want you to come here, but it says to the people who are already here how much we value them.”
Other events throughout the week include an interfaith prayer service and luncheon with the United Church of Christ, a cocktail reception at Alexander Mann Solutions, and an informational breakfast about E-1/E-2 visas.
A full list of the weeks’ events can be found on Global Cleveland’s website. Some events require registration.