State Budgets’ Fair School Funding Plan Includes Important Provisions for English Learners

Global Cleveland is proud to see the Fair School Funding Plan included in the final draft version of HB110, the state budget for FY 2022-2023. The Fair School Funding Plan includes important provisions that will provide key funding to support English as a learning language Students here in Cleveland and throughout Ohio. These provisions include changes that make additional funding for English Learners proportional to the average cost to educate a student in Ohio. Previously, funding for English Learners was locked to set numbers provided in earlier spending bills. By making funding proportional to the rising cost of education, state lawmakers are ensuring that English Learners are not left behind. However, the most important change from these provisions is that the additional funding provided for English Learners must now be used to support English Learners’ education and cannot be redirected for other uses. This ensures that the funding is used for its intended purposes and the needs of our English Learners are not neglected.

Learning to understand and use English proficiently is key for Ohio’s immigrants and their children to obtain higher education, pursue successful careers, and participate fully in our communities. The above provisions more adequately provide for this important education, helping to ensure greater educational equity. We believe that these provisions will help lead to a better future for all Ohioans as it will help create a better prepared and better educated population. We are thankful that our state legislators see the value of our English Learners and hope to see more legislation beneficial to immigrant and international communities in the future.


Juneteenth 2021

At Global Cleveland, we are proud to commemorate Juneteenth. As an organization committed to a just society for all people, we must celebrate black and African American liberation while collectively thinking of ways to continue educating ourselves and working together to ensure a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future.

Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth, celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States of America. It falls on June 19th, when Union Soldiers and their commanding officer Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed those who had been enslaved that they were free. This occurring over two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth, according to, is “the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.” Despite not being recognized as a federal holiday, 47 states recognize Ohio among them. Fortunately, this year it looks as if this will finally change as the U.S. Senate has passed a bill to recognize the holiday, and the U.S. House of Representatives is moving to pass it. There is also a group of Ohio legislators attempting to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday.

Also, according to, “Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.” As such, Juneteenth celebrations are celebrations of African American culture and history. They often include discussing the African American experience and readings, exhibitions, or performances of famous African American works. In addition, local communities oftentimes celebrate with parades, barbecues, or block parties, among other forms of celebration.

Below is a list of Juneteenth celebrations occurring in Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. We want to encourage our colleagues, allies, and all of Cleveland and beyond to respect and affirm the dignity of African Americans by educating ourselves and celebrating the triumphs and achievements of African Americans.

Cleveland Juneteenth Events:

  • June 19 & 20, join Djapo Cultural Arts Institute to celebrate culture, identity, and Juneteenth with a two-day workshop held at Inlet’s headquarters and a LIVE performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Register HERE
  • Cleveland’s Freedom Fest is set to become an annual destination event in the heart of Downtown Cleveland, poised to position our community as a national leader in celebrating Juneteenth.

    Set to take place on Saturday, June 19 from 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm on Mall C in the heart of Downtown Cleveland, the city-wide, family-friendly celebration and commemoration of Juneteenth will feature headline performances from by GRAMMY Award-winning performers Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science with special guests Ms. Lisa Fischer and Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef; “Freedom on Juneteenth: Songs of Liberation,” a mainstage performance by Karamu House, the country’s oldest Black producing theatre; and a fireworks finale made possible by #CL3Alliance, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns, and Cleveland Indians. See Schedule HERE

  • Join Coventry Village and Safer Heights in supporting black-owned businesses and artists at our Juneteenth celebration on June 19th! Led by local black artists/organizers, this event is for our WHOLE neighborhood to celebrate the freedom and contributions of the black community in Cleveland Heights and beyond! More info HERE.
  • Mx. Juneteenth: A Black & Queer Liberation Celebration. A free event with a suggested donation of $5; $10 for non-Black attendees. No one will be turned away for inability to pay. More info HERE. RSVP
  • Juneteenth: Party With a Purpose! Hosted by: Sevynteenth Foundation. The money raised from this event will go directly to fund scholarships for our summer campers! Tickets HERE

  • #JuneteenthOnBuckeye: The Buckeye Summer Soul Series in partnership with NAACP Cleveland Branch, Black Lives Matter Cleveland and New Era Cleveland, will host the 4th Annual #JuneteenthOnBuckeye, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM, at the Art & Soul park located at 11802 Buckeye Rd, Cleveland, OH 44120. The celebration will include live entertainment, giveaways, food, vendors and various support resources for residents. More info HERE
  • Land Before Rhyme – Juneteenth Show. Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland 2728 Lancashire Road Cleveland, OH 44106 “On this day we will honor our ancestors with our truths, our stories, our hopes, our tragedies and triumphs with the spoken word. Don’t miss it” For tickets click HERE
  • Juneteenth Bicycle Ride Around the Circle: Celebrate Juneteenth 2021 with Juneteenth Freedom Rides for a casual family-friendly bicycle ride through the University Circle area. Register HERE

Global Cleveland Vaccine Efforts

Since early March we have been working with FEMA, The Ohio Dept of Health, The City of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County Health Department, and community partners to help get people vaccinated. Whether it was through Ohio’s first mass vaccination site or our local vaccination partners, we have supported over 3000 people to receive their vaccination. We have connected people from the immigrant, ethnic, ELL (English as a Learning Language), and immigrant adjacent communities.

Global Cleveland is ready to continue serving our newcomer communities in Northeast Ohio as we work together to make us healthier, more connected, and more welcoming.

CIFF45 Streams: Global Cleveland is a Community Partner for the film Welcome Strangers

Tickets to the 45th Cleveland International Film Festival are now on sale! Global Cleveland is a #CIFF45Streams Community Partner in support of the film, Welcome Strangers. Use our discount code GLOBAL and you will receive $1 off the purchase of a ticket. Most films are available nationwide, so make plans to support independent film and its filmmakers:

Small Business Feature | ButterPear

What is ButterPear? 

ButterPear started in 2017 as a grassroots effort to raise funds in Liberia, West Africa for student education fees K-12. Becky Trout launched ButterPear as a way for her friends and family to support small businesses of Liberian artists to help send their children to school and to develop a customer base that connected her community straight to the artists who make their goods. Throughout the years it has grown to not only a fair-trade social enterprise but also a way for the Refugee and Immigrant community in Cleveland to connect with their culture back in their home countries. 

How does ButterPear impact refugees living in Cleveland? 

ButterPear slowly morphed into a maker-space e-commerce store for not only artists in Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Mali, but also here with refugees in Cleveland. We’ve been able to fundraise for specific needs that our refugee community in Cleveland raises awareness for. Being able to have artists create items that ultimately support their small business all while the profits support their own communities has been ButterPears number one goal. 

In 2020, ButterPear was able to hire 8 refugee women in Cleveland to sew masks. We were able to produce over 5,000 masks hand sewn to be purchased all while donating 3,000 more masks, $1500 in food relief in Liberia and Congo, and rent relief for a few families facing difficulties. Here are a few of our sewing sisters who helped lead the way! 

“We all know we are helping, it’s not that we are just trying to make money,” said Victoire Pilipilian artist that worked to create masks.  

What have you (Becky Trout, founder of ButterPear) learned from the creation of this business, and the amazing women that contribute? 

What I’ve learned from all of the amazing women we work with is that they will get the job done not only to completion but with excellence. I am always amazed at the creativity and drive behind each of the women we come in contact with. All are mothers, caregivers, business owners and they find ways to come together to create the most amazing items. There is a different sense of pride when it comes to showcasing their work. I love that I can not only know directly who these items come from but also know that the woman who made my baskets is paving the way for her daughter to become her own businesswoman as well. It makes that basket so much more valuable. There’s always a knock-off item, but there’s only one that comes straight from the source that’s going to lead the way. There’s an old African proverb I heard a lot in Liberia,  

If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate village 

Hearing that old proverb and seeing it be put into action with the women we work with across the world and here in Cleveland has been why ButterPear exists. 


International Women's Month Feature | Leen Ajlouni

What country were you born in, and how long have you lived in Cleveland?  

I was born in Amman, Jordan. I came to the US for the first time around 7 years ago to pursue my undergraduate studies at an all-women’s institution called Smith College. I moved to Cleveland the day after I graduated from Smith and have lived here for almost three years now. 

The pioneers and supporters of International Women’s Day believe that “from challenges come change.”: What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success?  

I recently read a quote by a psychiatrist and best-selling author Dr. Scott Peck that resonated with me. He says “Life is difficult. Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” I bring up this quote because it reminds me that the largest challenge in my journey so far has been not succumbing to the voice that says something is too difficult for me and that I should settle for less. I’ve seen myself shine brightest when I accept that something is difficult but set sail to take this challenge head-on.  

I think for many of us, fighting this internal, criticizing, self-pitying, self-doubting voice is the biggest hurdle to self-actualization. For those of us who feel as though we are paving our own path – whether personally, professionally or both – this voice can either paralyze our abilities to get there or empower and push us forward to the finish line. It’s ultimately our choice to hear the voice that we want to become. 

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?   

I feel very fortunate that at every step of my journey, I have been supported by a woman who believed in me and pushed me to do the uncomfortable. These women did not just celebrate my successes and empathized with me on my setbacks, but they were most influential to me because they gave me honest, critical advice when I needed it, helped me acknowledge my blind spots and shortcomings and pushed me to my true limits. One of my female mentors in Cleveland, for example, recently helped me realize that like many other women in the workspace, I can come off as being “over-apologetic”. Perhaps these scenarios sound familiar to you — saying sorry before speaking up in a meeting, getting permission before asking a question, using a lot of “thank you’s” in your emails to make them sound kinder. My one piece of advice to women is to notice yourself in moments where you are over-apologizing and over-thanking and to stop yourself. You deserve to ask your question; you deserve to speak up in a meeting; you deserve to sit at the table, and you don’t need to apologize or thank anyone for what you deserve.  Remember that you do not owe anyone but yourself the right to take up space and reclaim your power.  

How can the greater Cleveland community encourage, support, and amplify the success of international women? 

There are many international women in the greater Cleveland community who have moved mountains in their personal and professional journeys. There are also international women who absolutely have the potential to move mountains but lack the support, resources, and connections. Global Cleveland has played an important role in connecting these women altogether, but there is a lot more work to do. I can personally say that the most influential mentors to me have been international women who can relate to my story and challenges. The more we can bridge the two generations, the more success we can unlock. I am currently working in the field of Venture Capital, and I have yet to meet another Middle Eastern born-and-raised young female working in the field, not only in Cleveland but the US at large. In fact, perhaps if I did, I would have intentionally gone out to pursue this field knowing that I, too, can get here. Fortunately, a combination of luck, warm connections, and being at the right place at the right time worked in my favor, but the odds to have not entered the field were significantly higher. I want other young Middle Eastern women in this country to know that they, too, can enter the white-male-dominated field of Venture Capital and that we actually need more women like them in this field so that more Middle Eastern women entrepreneurs get Venture Capital funds. In a time and place where humans rely on connections and the power of networks, we need to amplify the work that organizations like Global Cleveland are setting to do by creating a strong network of generations of international women who have, can, and will move mountains with the help, guidance, and support of one another. 


International Women's Month Feature | Radhika Reddy

What country were you born in (if first generation, where is your family from), and how long have you lived in Cleveland?  

Born in Kakinada, India but from Hyderabad India. Lived in Cleveland for 31 years. 

The pioneers and supporters of international women’s day believe that “from challenges come change.”: What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success?  

Being an immigrant from India with an accent created cultural differences and misunderstandings, which has been the biggest challenge for me. However, I turned the cultural differences to advantage by partnering with women from different cultures, combining the best of the eastern and western values, to create a socially-minded, 100% women-owned entrepreneurial business in real estate public-private finance and development, that helps transform low-income neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio and nationally. 

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?   

Develop inner confidence to be your true authentic self, and if in business, partner with others who have complementing strengths and shared values, work as a team, as we are stronger together than alone 

How can the greater Cleveland community encourage, support, and amplify the success of international women?  

Similar to the efforts of Global Cleveland in the recognition and showcasing of the successes of international women, to show support and amplify the message that immigrant women who have come to this country, are building businesses, creating jobs, and giving back to the community in their adopted country. 

Global Cleveland stand in solidarity and support to AAPI (and all forms) Racism and Discrimination

“Global Cleveland stands united against racism and hate against our Asian American Pacific Islander community. The horrific surge in violence and hate-crimes that is happening across our country is unacceptable, and we must work to continue to stand in solidarity with our AAPI brothers and sisters. We condemn all forms of hate and are committed to rectifying racial inequalities in our society.

Our hearts go out to the reported shootings of Asian American women on Tuesday in Atlanta, for the victims' families, other victims of the hate crimes throughout the country, and the entire AAPI community.  As a society, we must undergo a revolution of values to understand these communities' struggle, heritage, and contribution to the nation and its culture We need to choose solidarity over division and resistance over complicity as we keep building a future that works for everyone.”

International Women’s Month Feature | Supriya Tamang

What country were you born in, and how long have you lived in Cleveland? 

I was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, and was there until I graduated from College. I came to Cleveland in Jan 2017 to pursue my master’s degree and have been a year since then – more than 4 years now.   

The pioneers and supporters of International Women’s Day believe that “from challenges come change.” What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success? 

If not all, most women face this challenge in their life i.e., having to prove yourself to others again and again and it was/is one of the biggest challenges that I had to face as well. For me, I had to prove myself to my parents so that I can gain their trust to support me for whatever I choose to pursue in life. Many may not understand this but growing up in a patriarchal society with all the stereotypes, they were always skeptical about any contrasting ideas I presented. After a lot of pushback and time, they were convinced that I am capable of doing things my own way and it is absolutely fine.  

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world? 

It is an honor to be nominated for this recognition. I am still learning from everyone and the only thing I want to tell is to believe in yourself and never put yourself down. If you don’t believe in your own ability or to make decisions yourself, then no one will. There will be instances that will make you question yourself; your belief and you will make many mistakes, but it is all a learning process – that is how you become wiser and strongerAlso, support other women – make each other understand the value we all bring to this world.  

How can the greater Cleveland community encourage, support, and amplify the success of international women? 

 It all comes down to “Practice what you preach”. We hear everyone talking about women empowerment, welcoming internationals and supporting the marginalized community but when we look into the work that is actually done is comparatively lesser. Representation matters a lot – having women of diverse backgrounds as a part of your organization and community makes a huge difference in shaping the City of Cleveland. 

On the other hand, rather than focusing on the superficial level, looking for rooted problems and finding solutions to those problems is more consequential. We can always support, fund or volunteer to the organizations in Cleveland that are working on the issues that significantly affect women, internationals and marginalized communities.    

International Women’s Month Feature | Rose Dostal

What country were you born in, and how long have you lived in Cleveland? 

I am a first-generation immigrant, born in the Philippines, and have lived in Cleveland since I was 14.  I was quite young when my parents emigrated from their native land to Canada for a couple of years and then to the Cleveland area. 

The pioneers and supporters of International Women’s Day believe that “from challenges come change.” What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success? 

There were certainly many challenges we faced as a new arrival. While I know this essay is supposed to be about my journey, I admire my mother so much that maybe you can indulge me in writing briefly about her challenging journey that so clearly shaped my immigrant story. 

I suppose my mother and I are very much alike, though I wouldn’t dare think that I could compare the path to my profession to the hardship that she had to undergo managing being a young physician, mother and wife. Frankly, she has never had anyone tell her to this day how awe-inspiring she is. 

I asked her recently if she had experienced any hardships when she first arrived as a practicing physician. Her answer was an unequivocal “No!” While her response was not surprising, I would beg to differ with her as I know the road to her professional success in the US was full of obstacles that needed to be overcome. Arriving in a foreign land, she and my father, himself a civil engineer, had to raise seven young children all the while attempting to restart their careers in a new homeland. Her reply to me, dismissing any thought of the difficult challenges, is so typical of how she led her life. She just did what she had to do with no complaints or excuses.  

But truth to be told, it was not at all easy for her. Prior to arriving to the Americas, she was a registered, licensed, practicing physician in the Philippines for many years. But upon entering to the states, she had to start over and re-take her internship, residency, fellowship, pass board certification, and more medical education. Can you imagine going through this once again while you’re raising a large family? She did not complain. But rather, she embraced the challenge. She loved what she did. She chose to follow the rules and charge forward.  

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?   

I suppose this is where I can start talking about myself. I think this sense of yearning to do what I love is what drives me. While I may not have had to demonstrate that same level of courage she did, I certainly have inherited her drive to succeed. I tend to ignore the hurdles. Oh, believe me at times, I would rather have avoided roadblocks placed in front of me. But having my mother as my role model, I pushed ahead. I was a late bloomer, professionally speaking. I didn’t really get serious about my career until I was 23 years old. That was when I decided it was time to take college seriously. Enrolled in the School of Architecture at OSU, I was one of maybe a handful or so of women in a class of 100 or so fledgling architects. In the field of architecture, racial and ethnic diversity and gender equity were not part of the social conversation when I first started my career. Rather, I hoped to lead by example, working closely with women architecture and design students and interns now for years. I can only hope that the women I mentored over the years have had some impact and they are also forging ahead.  

I want to say that even during the early days of my career when there wasn’t a conscious effort in the industry to elevate women, I always felt the need to lead by example. I chose early to share my insight and experience and, importantly, offer an opportunity to a young woman as they began their design careers, hoping that they, like me, would try to make a difference, to Choose to Challenge!