Focus on Caribbean Diaspora For Black History Forum
Caribbean diaspora contributions to the United States will take the spotlight as the curtains come down on this year’s Black History month events, with Dr Julius Garvey – son of Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Garvey – set to deliver the keynote address at a virtual Black History Month forum on February 28.
Caribbean nationals have influenced every facet of American society for generations. Their contributions include the performing and visual arts; music (rap has its roots in Jamaica); popular culture; science, medicine, business, politics, and the culinary arts. Worthy of note as well, without the success of the Haitian Revolution, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, by which the United States doubled its land mass, may not have been possible.
The Jamaican Nationals Association (JNA) of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, through the leadership of JNA President Dr Elaine Knight and Vice-President Rev Dr Noel Godfrey, will host this forum. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the gathering will be held virtually, via Zoom, beginning at 4:00 p.m. EST.
Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks will also deliver remarks. Dr Karren Dunkley, Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA representative, will moderate the forum.
This event will recognise and raise awareness about the role Caribbean nationals have played in the history and development of the United States. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, the Caribbean diaspora is well-educated and an affluent demographic numbering close to 8 million people.
Commenting on essential contributions that the Caribbean diaspora has made, Dr Garvey, himself a surgeon, medical professor and activist, notes that his father “is considered one of the major pillars of the pan-African movement. He laid a foundation of African philosophy and organised the largest global organisation of African peoples”.
Dr Garvey, a recipient of Jamaica’s fifth highest national honour – the Order of Jamaica (OJ) – also announced that a bust of his world-famous father has been commissioned and will be installed at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the anniversary of the elder Garvey’s 134th birthday – August 17, 2021. The Marcus Garvey Institute, Pan-African Technical Association Whirlwind Group, and National Association of Kawaida Organizations are serving as the committee overseeing this project.
The Caribbean-American Political Action Committee (C-PAC), Jamaican Association of Maryland (JAM), and the Montgomery County Executive’s Caribbean American Advisory Group will also collaborate with JNA on this critical forum. The Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA, Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, endorses the ‘Contributions of the Caribbean Diaspora to America’ event.
A non-profit organisation, the JNA, Inc. has been in operation for more than 50 years. Its mission is to unite persons of Jamaican heritage and friends of Jamaica to maintain and promote Jamaican culture and heritage and provide educational and charitable support to persons of Jamaican heritage in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, other US-Jamaican communities, and in Jamaica.
(This story first appeared in the Jamaica Gleaner)