My fellow Jamaicans in the Diaspora, I am delighted to convey warm greetings to you, on the occasion of National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, which, since 2006, has been celebrated annually in the month of June.
The celebration of National Caribbean-American Heritage Month this year comes against the backdrop of continued challenges internationally, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, this occasion allows us to celebrate the resilience of our Jamaican Diaspora and their commitment to excellence.
In this regard, I am pleased to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to one of the architects responsible for the establishment of this occasion, who is one of very own-Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies.
As one of the largest Caribbean immigrant communities in the US, our Jamaican Diaspora has made and continues to make noteworthy contributions to the socio-economic, cultural and political landscape of the United States. These achievements and contributions have helped to shape the legacy of our common Caribbean American Heritage, of which we are proud.
The recent milestone accomplishment of Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to be elected to the second highest office in the US, follows the rich legacy of Caribbean Americans of Jamaican descent who have held public office. These include, but are not limited to: Colin Powell–former Secretary of State and first person of color to hold said Office; Susan Rice–former US Ambassador to the United
Nations; Yvette Clarke–Congresswoman of the 9thCongressional District of New York; and David Paterson –New York’s first African-American Lieutenant Governor.
In the area of arts and culture, we take this opportunity to celebrate the contributions of Jamaican American trailblazers. In this connection, we acknowledge the work of Sheryl Lee Ralph–Actress, Singer and Author, as well as one of the first official spokespersons for Caribbean-American Heritage Month in 2006. In addition, musical giants such as Harry Belafonte and Clive Campbell, are just a few of the Jamaican Americans who have exposed Jamaica’s musical prowess and talents to the American and international audience.
As your Consul General, I am truly delighted to see the continuation of the celebration of National Caribbean-American Heritage Month here in the United States.
I am also heartened by the support from the White House towards the ongoing recognition of its significance, as well as the call to all of us here in the US to join in celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Caribbean Americans.
In this regard, I call on all members of our vibrant Jamaican Diaspora and fellow Caribbean brothers and sisters to use this opportunity to reflect on our collective contributions and accomplishments here in the US. Happy National Caribbean-American Heritage Month to us all.