“I don’t feel different than the people who came 200 years ago,” he said Tuesday afternoon to board members of Ocoee Regional Multicultural Services.
He feels he is simply following traditions and wishes one day to talk “to some real old guys who came here with nothing.”
He said America is an ideal. It is still the one place in the world where people can accomplish dreams and goals.
“America, in the world, is still the only country of freedom and diversity,” he said. “We can do something in America if you want to work. It’s not about us, it’s about the country, I guess.
“Everybody wants to come here — everybody.”
One of the things Almodovar has done since he moved to Cleveland was to open a French restaurant because he missed the food from his native country.
“It’s not that I don’t like American food or Mexican food, I love it, but I wanted to show the people of Cleveland there is something else,” he said.
La Place has been open nine months. It is located off Stuart Road, tucked away from view behind the Sonic Drive In and Golden Corral.
“We are really happy and we hope the people of Cleveland are happy too,” he said.
Almodovar said he is blessed and hasn’t experienced any difficulty — except municipal sign regulations prevent him from erecting a sign advertising La Place.
Other topics of discussion at the meeting in the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, ORMS board members discussed the Journeys Story exhibited in the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library for six weeks in August and September. Exhibit coordinator Renee Lastra said 2,266 people saw the stories.
Dr. Ben Judkins, of Lee University, said the organization needs to continue building on the momentum developed from the exhibit and embark on a program to build community from diversity.
Building Community From Diversity would be a multi-part program designed to provide avenues for interaction and dialogue among the regions’ culturally diverse populations.
“We would seek to create opportunities to not only explore and analyze our differences, but also our similarities,” he said. “Ultimately, the program would lead to action on community policies.”
Various project components would include conversations in neighborhoods, study groups, record oral histories, a “culturefest” or and educational celebration of diversity, and a symposium.