The first ever “Our Caribbean Heritage Celebration” was a community-relationship builder for one of the most diversified cities in the northeast region.
New York City Council Member Andy King and other elected officials kicked off National Caribbean American Heritage Month with a celebration of nine outstanding people of Caribbean heritage at the “Our Caribbean Heritage Celebration” on June 3rd at the Celeste Bartos Forum, New York Public Library--Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, Manhattan.
“The National Caribbean American Heritage Month provides a wonderful opportunity for us as a people to strengthen and develop additional relationships,” said Loreen Bannis-Roberts, Dominica’s Ambassador to the United Nations and an honoree at celebration, which included music by the City South Steel Orchestra, songs by world-renowned opera and jazz singer from Dominica, Marie-Claire Giraud and videos about the Commonwealth of Dominica.
“I represent the 12th District of the Bronx, a large Caribbean community. We’re full of color, we’re full of life, zeal and love for one another,” said Council Member King, who organized the celebration.
“Puerto Rico is where I was born and raised, Puerto Rico is where my mother continues to live, and I am really, really proud of my identity, my culture, and my heritage, ” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who received the “Real Leadership” award.
In addition to Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Honorable Bannis-Roberts, other honorees awarded for their outstanding contribution to their community and country were: Ms. Giraud, Gabriel J. Christian, Esq., Henry A. Garrido, DC 37, Executive Director; Ambassador Curtis Ward, former ambassador of Jamaica to the United Nations; Hon. Dr. Irving W. André, Superior Court of Justice, Dominica; Crispin Gregoire, United Nation Development Program’s (UNDP) Chief of the Caribbean Strategic Monitoring and Support Unit of the Regional Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean and Dr. Clayton Shillingford, former president of the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“It is with great pleasure to recognize and honor these individuals in our community who have made significant contributions in their chosen fields and supported Caribbean communities,” said Council Member King.