CBC Celebrates Caribbean-American Heritage Month
WASHINGTON – From CBC founding member Shirley Chisholm to the first African-American secretary of state Colin Powell, Caribbean Americans have truly helped make the United States a more perfect union. Consequently, in honor of Caribbean-American Heritage Month, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) spent the month of June recognizing the contributions of Caribbean Americans to the nation, the unique challenges Caribbean-Americans face under the Trump Administration, and the importance of strong U.S.-Caribbean relations.
From Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.):
“I am so pleased to join with my colleagues in honoring Caribbean-American Heritage Month. The nations of the Caribbean are among the most loyal allies of the United States, and the people of the Caribbean have deep historical, economic, and cultural ties to the people of the United States. I have always been a friend of the Caribbean, and I am especially proud of my work to ensure that Jamaica was able to reach an equitable agreement with the International Monetary Fund that helped to stabilize Jamaica’s economy. I remain committed to enhancing our friendship in order to advance our common interests which include promoting regional economic development, improving security, reducing environmental threats like climate change and rising sea levels, and facilitating remittances from Caribbean Americans to their relatives in the Caribbean.”
From Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.):
“Caribbean-American Heritage Month honors the many contributions of a people who have been integral to our civil society from the very start. Generations of Caribbean-Americans, including my own parents from the beautiful island Nation of Jamaica, have come here to pursue the American Dream, and continue to offer their talents and ambitions. As we celebrate this month, let us dedicate ourselves to building the relationship between the United States and the Caribbean community to achieve a more prosperous and secure future for all.”
From Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.):
“It brings me great pride to join Virgin Islanders and others across the country in celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month. As a Virgin Islander and an Afro-Caribbean woman, I am proud to celebrate the life, legacy and achievement of Caribbean descendants. Virgin Islanders and other Caribbean descendants have made enormous contributions to the United States of America through academia, athletics, the arts and more and I commend the President of the United States for recognizing those important contributions. I encourage Virgin Islanders and Americans across the country to use this time as an opportunity to learn of the storied achievements of our ancestors.”
On June 8, CBC members Waters, Clarke, and Plaskett, all of whom co-chair the Congressional Caribbean Caucus, hosted a briefing on immigration, economic development, U.S.-Caribbean relations and other issues affecting the Caribbean. The briefing featured Oscar Spencer, Vice President of the Institute for Caribbean Studies, Curtis A. Ward, former Jamaican ambassador to the United Nations, and Sally Yearwood, executive director of Caribbean-Central American Action.
On June 26, the CBC hosted a special order hour on the House floor on the contributions Caribbean-Americans have made to the U.S. During the special order hour, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) talked about her mentor, Shirley Chisholm, who was of Bajan and Guyanese descent. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who represents Jamaica Queens, talked about how policies in the U.S. affect the Caribbean. “We can never forget that when America catches a cold, many individuals in the Caribbean get pneumonia. We’re really one on the same continent and we’re only as strong as we are together,” Meeks said. Plaskett and Clarke also participated in the special order hour.