After the President signed the first executive order banning immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries, Ashley Shaw felt compelled to do something. "My friends and I were heartbroken about the message this executive order sends to refugees and immigrants who are already here," she says. Last month, they launched The Global Table, a series of potlucks in Cleveland, Ohio, geared toward celebrating, welcoming, and protecting the local immigrant community.
"Sharing food is the best way to bring people together," says Shaw. Thanks to her position as the Economic and Planning Manager at Ohio City Incorporated, she knew the perfect venue for the first event: The Cleveland Hostel, which has hosted travelers from over 60 countries.
The organizers promoted the event through local media and businesses, and because they didn't ask people to RSVP for the event, no one knew what to expect. "Every seat was full," says Shaw. Throughout the 3-hour event, about 100 guests showed up, including immigrants from Egypt, Nepal, Switzerland, Mexico, Turkey, Nigeria, China, Columbia, and Canada.
People brought food that represented their heritage or places they've traveled. Some of the dishes included paella, Turkish pastry rolls, Syrian pastries, and a huge pan of homemade cavatelli. The event also featured a crafts station for kids and a performance by a local band, Global Connection, which kept people dancing until the very end.
I'm thrilled to send the organizers signed copies of my cookbook. The Global Table illustrates a bit of what Potluck Nation is all about.