LIMA — The Lima community gathered at the Lima Civic Center on Thursday night to celebrate diversity and inclusion across the region.
The annual Community Enrichment Dinner brought in a sold-out crowd to raise funds and celebrate individuals who have made a positive impact on the area.
“It’s always exciting when you can get 700 people together in one event and just recognize the true spirit of diversity and inclusion,” CED organizer Jerome O’Neal said. “Not only do we raise funds to help support local community activities, those that support diversity and inclusion, but also small businesses and minority businesses.”
Among those in attendance were some of Ohio’s key political leaders: Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, and Ohio Supreme Court Justices Melody Stewart and Sharon Kennedy all came to Lima for the event. Justice Kennedy said that the dinner can be a strong example of what the state of Ohio can be at its best.
“I think everyone wants fellowship without divide, and equality without divide,” Justice Kennedy said. “And the fact that your community is coming together as one people to celebrate musicians, to come together for the Community Enrichment Dinner every year and supporting them and the good work that the Chamber does.”
The night also brought many of Lima and Allen County’s local elected officials and influential entrepreneurs under one roof. The crowd also got a preview of the exciting developments going on downtown with Makerspace and the Central District.
Business leaders of all sizes were also in the house, with some coming in from all over the country to celebrate.
“We are certainly open and willing to share our resources with organizations who are extremely strong and critical to the vibrancy of underprivileged and impacted communities,” said Nutrien Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Leslie Coleman. “We’re excited, we’re thrilled to be part of this.”
The night saw a host of award winners, recognizing members of the community and small businesses who have excelled as leaders in business, community service, social justice and social equity.
Fitting the theme of celebrating diversity, the civic center kicked off its first full weekend of their comeback season after the dinner with a performance from classical hip-hop duo Black Violin in Crouse Hall, bringing people from all backgrounds together to enjoy a unique show.
Reach Trevor Hubert at 567-242-0398