cleveland rocks NYE Twitter: @OhioHomecoming Have you heard about the event Ohio Homecoming is throwing in downtown Cleveland this year to celebrate New Years? If not check out our previous post about it by clicking here. Alonzo Mitchell III is one of the guys behind the event, and he asked me to share his letter so Cleveland is aware of how they can do their part to help! Hit the break to read the letter! Dear Cleveland, I last wrote you 319 days ago. My missive was passionate enough to be a love letter, but direct enough to be a call to action that I hoped would catapult our relationship to the next level. I professed my adoration for you, and my commitment to illuminate and preserve your rich history, and to promote you as an ideal travel destination and a prime location for thriving business. I know that you are a city poised for the growth of wealth and expansion of industry, a town that cherishes its community and culture, a place that values family and social enrichment, and knows how to have a good time, too. It is with sincere appreciation for the things you have done for me to date that I write again to discuss something that is troubling my soul as I give my all to make you a better home for everyone who loves you. For years, I’ve been hearing how the people of Cleveland want to make the city a place where I—and other young professionals—want to live, learn, work, play, worship, and raise a family. Local media constantly pushes the idea that we need to work harder to uplift downtown Cleveland in general, and Public Square specifically, that we need to create exciting signature events that can bring money into our economy. So I banded with other Millennials to resurrect a previously successful celebration on Public Square: New Year’s Eve. A wise man once told me that the greatest problem facing young people is a feeling that someone owes us something. His statement resonated with me, and it has served as fuel for our group, as we work hard to give something. For us, New Year’s Eve is bigger than a concert or a fireworks display. Not only is it an opportunity to showcase our beautiful city, but it is also a platform to raise awareness and resources for our other initiative, the Village Project, which seeks to rehab and revitalize Cleveland neighborhoods by leveraging the energy, wealth and collective impact of our generation’s energetic professionals, entrepreneurs and artists. It’s our contribution to developing a strong urban core that attracts and retains talent. Ultimately, it’s about giving the city an annuity that all residents, companies and organizations can draw on for years to come. So we started a year ago, calling everyone we knew—and many we didn’t—in an effort to garner support from local leaders and stakeholders in what we know will be a successful annual event. We’ve had some victories. Native son Drew Carey has signed on to host Cleveland Rocks New Year’s Eve, and the event will be broadcast live on 19 Action News. We have secured a handful of great partners, yet for every ally who has climbed on board, dozens of Northeast Ohio businesses have said no. As the owner of a small business myself, I know that budgets are tight and it’s impossible to say yes to everything. However as a city, if we do not find ways to say yes, the vision for a bold, thriving, competitive Cleveland is lost. We all suffer when influential local business people who are tepid towards embracing this future for Cleveland, actively undermine it through naysaying, actually calling potential sponsors planting seeds of doubt and coaxing them to not support the initiative—support the city we all love. That crosses a shameful line. Or as our generation would say, “why are you being a hater?” I find myself in a difficult position. I want to continue to enthusiastically encourage our talented generation to stay here, or return, after they get their education. I want to demonstrate and proudly state that they will be supported here, that their talent will be valued. But how do Young Professionals in Cleveland make them feel like they have a stake in the future of our city, when we often wonder if we do?” It is total commitment to the city that raised us that keeps us moving when folks say we should give up; I know that when you truly believe in a cause, walking away is never an option. In fact, I even have an idea for attracting and retaining young professionals that we don't have to spend thousands of dollars for a consultant to tell us: Talk to them. Support those whose goals are aligned with the goals of the city. Use your resources to grow their ideas. Know that power is an illusion, and if we don’t prepare to pass the torch, it will one day go out. Cleveland Rocks New Year’s Eve is going to happen. The city is on board, the layout is finalized, the host is ready to go, Krewella—fresh from a performance on Good Morning America—is excited to perform, the ice is chilling for the sculptures, and the fireworks are waiting to light up the sky. The only questions now are, just how spectacular will the night be? How much acclaim will it bring our wonderful city? Will there be one ice sculpture, or five? Three minutes of fireworks, or 15? It will come down to the support we garner and the Clevelanders who continue to step up to donate necessary resources, from marketing trade, to volunteer man hours, to cash. Our community’s participation in this positive movement will ultimately determine the scale of the festivities and the impact it will have. It’s not too late to be a part of something phenomenal. If you want to support our mission, email me at Thank you and may God bless you, Cleveland. Alonzo Mitchell III - Managing Partner -