Elected leaders, police brass, civic leaders, clergy, community activists and others participated in the day-long meeting held at the Old Stone Church on Public Square downtown.
The training sessions were prompted by rising racial tension and a heavy-handed police force in the warehouse district.
"By coming here, a lot of people are scared, implying they might be doing something wrong, which they're not, " Bobby George said. George owns the Barley House on West Sixth.
George objected to a comment made by an individual, who said one way to resolve conflict is to hire minorities.
"I think some of the comments were out of line because they're implying we're not doing that already," George said.
Downtown Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman was happy about the turnout.
"This is a room of construction. There are no demolition permits here today. What everyone is doing is working on how we can build and do it together," Cimperman said.
This was the first in what is expected to be a series of training seminars that are designed to help business owners and employees become even more familiar with discrimination laws.