NEW YORK, June 3, CMC – The June celebration of the Caribbean’s contribution to American history and culture has entered its sixth year with a Caribbean-American congresswoman on Sunday urging stronger ties between the United States and Caribbean nations, particularly Haiti.
US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, whose New York 11th District is home to the largest Haitian community in the US after Miami, called for greater support in the effort to rebuild earthquake-stricken Haiti.
“I encourage all of us to continue to support and help fight for our Haitian brothers and sisters as they work to fully recover from the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake,” she told the Caribbean Media Corporation.
“As a representative of the second largest population of first and second generation Haitian immigrants, I understand the importance of ensuring our nation and our global community fulfils its commitment to help Haiti fully recover,” she added.
Earlier this year, Clarke joined with US Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, in reaffirming their “commitment to the long-term recovery efforts of Haiti” by announcing new legislative initiatives entitled “The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act” and “A Resolution Recognizing the SecondYear Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti”.
Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican Una Clarke, the first Caribbean-born woman to be elected to the New York City Council, said Caribbean American Heritage Month is “special to my heart because the nations of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica celebrate their 50th year anniversary of independence.”
“This month, we celebrate and recognize the many contributions Caribbean Americans have made to this country,” Clarke said.
The list includes the iconic actor Cicely Tyson of Nevisian parents; former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, who is of Jamaican parentage; legendary singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte who is of Jamaican and Martiniquan heritage; Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, born of a Barbadian mother and Guyanese father; and Jamaica’s acclaimed reggae artist Bob Marley and political activist Marcus Garvey.
Clarke said this year’s Caribbean American Heritage Month is also a time to “reflect on the influence and contributions Caribbean Americans have made in our society, and appreciate these contributions throughout the year,” she added.
“Let us never forget that we are tightly interconnected in the global community,” the congresswoman continued. “Caribbean culture has had a positive influence in the world.”
The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is to mark Caribbean American Heritage Month in New York by celebrating Caribbean Week here and hosting an investment forum in New York, the Invest Caribbean Now Power Forum, on Wednesday.
At the forum, the British business tycoon Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, is to be presented with a leadership award in recognition of his launch of a Caribbean entrepreneurship centre in the Caribbean that will bear his name.
The forum takes place at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square in midtown Manhattan, to encourage foreign direct investment in the region as its organisers boasted of booming “Chinese investment in this free trade emerging market economy that is politically stable, and boosts a highly literate work force and an established tourism market,” according to a statement from its organisers.