WASHINGTON DC, United States — The 57th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence is in the spotlight with Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica celebrating across the United States the island’s milestone of gaining independence from Britain on August 6, 1962.
For the Jamaicans residing in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia, several Jamaica Independence events will be held, endorsed by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks.
This coming Saturday, August 3, the Jamaican Association of Maryland (JAM) will stage its Independence Ball, at Martins West Conference Center in Baltimore, under the patronage of Ambassador Marks, who will deliver the keynote address.
JAM will also honour CEO and founder of Team Jamaica Bickle, Irwine Clare, who will receive the Marcus Garvey Award, while the Community Service award will be shared by Karl Malcolm and Andrew Lawrence. On August 29, JAM will host its annual Independence church service at the Baltimore Missionary Church.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, August 4, the Embassy of Jamaica will host the annual Independence Service of Thanksgiving, commencing at 11:00 am at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington DC. The Ambassador will deliver the Prime Minister’s message while Boulevard Baptist Church pastor and immediate past president of the Jamaica Baptist Union, Rev Dr Devon Dick, will deliver the message while Biblical Language and Literature Professor of the Howard University Divinity School, Dr Bertram Melbourne, will moderate.
Jamaicans at the service will be joined by, among others, members of the US Congress, the diplomatic corps, and representatives of various Jamaican organisations.
Meanwhile, the Embassy & Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the Organisation of American States (OAS) will be participating in an Art Exhibition from August 5 to 9, part of the OAS’ 2019 Inter-American Week for Indigenous Persons. Art work from Jamaican artists Paul Blackwood, Courtney Morgan, and Lionel Roberts will be on display. A public forum will be held on Thursday, August 8 at 2:00 pm in the Hall of the Americas at the OAS.
Elsewhere in Washington, DC, an art exhibition featuring Keith Morrison continues until August 11 at The American University Museum, in the Katzen Arts Center.
In Philadelphia, the Independence milestone will be celebrated with several activities to include a flag raising ceremony at City Hall on Independence Day, August 6. On August 10, Team Jamaica Bickle will host a black-tie Independence Gala at the Hilton Philadelphia Hotel. The guest speaker will be the recently-appointed first black female bishop of the Church of England, the Jamaican-born Rose Hudson-Wilkin. On August 11, at 4:00 pm, there will be an Independence Thanksgiving service at True United Church with Rev Bryan Grant delivering the sermon.
In New York City, the Consulate General will host its Independence Service of Thanksgiving on Sunday, August 4 at 4:00 pm, at Bethany Baptist Church, Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Brooklyn. Officiating minister will be Senior Pastor of Freedom Hall of Church of God, Bishop Dr Cecil Riley. It is anticipated that the newly-appointed Consulate General Alison Roach-Wilson, will be in attendance.
In the Garden State, the Jamaican Organisation of New Jersey holds its independence gala on Saturday, August 3, at Pines Manor in Edison township, with the annual Service of Thanksgiving scheduled for Trinity Pentecostal Church on August 11.
On August 10, Jamaica Independence Gala Society stages its black-tie gala in the Grand Ballroom of Hilton Westchester in Rye, New York, celebrating brand Jamaica. Patron for this event is Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett.
New York-based, Jamaica Independence Celebration Foundation, will stage its independence grand ball on August 17, at the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge, with Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Courtenay Rattray, as patron. The honorees at that event include former NYC mayor David Dinkins and US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, whose parents are Jamaican.
Among the first events to kick off the salute to the island’s independence, the Rochester Jamaican Organisation (RJO) in upstate New York this past weekend saluted the island home with a Friday evening (July 26) Independence scholarship and awards gala, where RJO President Dr Joel Frater welcomed Washington-based Jamaican translator and journalist Ian Edwards to give the keynote address, and a number of city, state and county officials who joined in paying tribute to the Jamaican contribution to that region. RJO also organised a reception Saturday evening, and a service at the Genesee Baptist Church on Sunday that honoured the Jamaican independence, with Jamaican Rev Warren Muir, of Binghamton, NY, as special guest preacher.
In hailing the activities organised to mark her country’s Anniversary of Independence, Ambassador Marks said, “the commemoration of our country’s independence festivities this year, under the theme ‘One Nation, One People,’ is a reminder and celebration of our diverse ancestry as a people of African, Indian, Chinese, Lebanese, and European descent formulating a melting pot of culture, ideas and behaviours which make us uniquely Jamaican – a distinction of which we stand proud.”
Derrick A Scott