June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month

by Cynthia Johnson

Every June you can find Caribbean communities across the United States celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month (CAMH). During this month we honor the many contributions of Caribbeans and Caribbean-Americans to our culture, society and heritage. Former President Barack Obama in his remarks on CAMH, stated that, “Caribbean-Americans have contributed to every aspect of our society-from science and medicine to business and the arts. During National Caribbean-American Heritage Month we honor their history, culture, and essential role in the American narrative.” 

In June 2005, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States.  On February 14, 2006, the resolution similarly passed the Senate, culminating a two-year, bipartisan and bicameral effort. The Proclamation was issued by President George Bush on June 6, 2006.

Since the declaration, the White House has issued an annual proclamation recognizing June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month. This year marks the fourteenth celebration of June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. 

-Americans have contributed to every aspect of our society-from science and medicine to business and the arts. During National Caribbean-American Heritage Month we honor their history, culture, and essential role in the American narrative.

-Former President Barack Obama

The campaign to designate June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month, was spearheaded by Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies.  Through the commemoration of this month, we hope to ensure that America is reminded that its greatness lies in its diversity, with Caribbean immigrants from founding father Alexander Hamilton, to journalist Malcolm Gladwell, who have shaped the American dream. ( https://www.caribbeanamericanmonth.org/ )

The census (as of 2017) documents the number of Caribbeans in the US as follows:

West Indian Non-Hispanic3,022,676
Bermudan 6,849
British West Indies105,651
Dutch West Indies36,906
Trinidadian and Tobagonian 225,954
US Virgin Islander20,035
West Indian 295,318
Other West Indian8,201
Hispanic or Latino
Puerto Rican5,588,664
Costa Rica153,317
Nicaraguan 444,585
( https://factfinder.census.gov/ )
HAVANA,CUBA Afrocuban street musicians playing traditional music.
HAVANA,CUBA Afrocuban street musicians playing traditional music.

Proclamation on National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, 2019

Issued on: May 31, 2019

During National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we acknowledge the significant ways Caribbean Americans have shaped our culture and heritage. Americans with roots in the Caribbean have greatly enriched our society, contributing to the arts, business, journalism, technology, government, religion, the military, sports, and many other fields.

Through his dedication to his faith, Joseph Sandiford Atwell exemplified the unyielding spirit of Caribbean Americans. Born in Barbados in 1831, Atwell moved to the United States in 1863 and attended the Philadelphia Divinity School. Following the Civil War, he went to spread God’s message of hope and love to the emancipated slaves in the South. Due to the strength of his ministry, he became the first black Episcopal deacon ordained in the Diocese of Kentucky and went on to become the first black Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Virginia.

Earlier this year, I met with the leaders of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia to reaffirm our partnership with the Caribbean. We discussed how we can bring greater prosperity to this important region, including potential opportunities for energy investment and enhanced trade partnerships. We made tremendous progress, and we will build on these discussions to strengthen further the relationship we share with our Caribbean neighbors.

This month, we recognize the vibrant culture and patriotism of Caribbean Americans that continue to bolster our country and enrich our lives, and we pay tribute to the strong friendship between the United States and the countries of the Caribbean.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2019 as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. I encourage all Americans to join in celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Caribbean Americans with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.


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