Celebrate June... Caribbean American Heritage Month
Caribbean immigrants have been contributing to the well-being of American society since its founding. Alexander Hamilton, the First Secretary of the Treasury was from the Caribbean island of Nevis. We count among our famous sons and daughters, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Cicely Tyson, W.E.B Dubois, James Weldon Johnson, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier to name a few. ICS' effort began in 1999 with a petition to President Bill Clinton for the recognition of a Caribbean American Heritage Month.
In 2000, ICS began leading activities in celebration of June as Caribbean American Heritage Month in Washington DC, building on efforts started by a now defunct ad-hoc group of Washington DC residents to have a Caribbean Heritage Month designated in Washington DC in 1999.
The official campaign for a National Caribbean American Heritage Month began in 2004 when a legislative bill was tabled in Congress by Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Language was provided by ICS Founder and President Dr. Claire Nelson. The Bill was reintroduced and passed the House in June 2005 and the Senate in February 2006. A Proclamation making the resolution official was signed by President George W. Bush on June 5, 2006.
In 2006, actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph and basketball great Rick Fox were named official spokespersons for National Caribbean American Heritage Month. Learn more at www.caribbeanamericanheritage.org.
Each year, ICS works with our partners at a number of organizations to present a parade of events for varied palates. Learn more about this year’s events at www.caribbeanamericanheritage.org.
Inaugural activities in June 2006 coordinated by ICS included:
- National Press Conference with Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, New York
- National InterFaith Worship Service, Washington DC
- National Caribbean American Legislative Conference, Washington DC
- White House Briefing & Reception, Washington DC
- Congressional Reception, Washington DC
- Caribbean American Business Council Briefing, Washington DC
- Arts Festival on Ellis Island, New York City
- Caribbean American Hollywood Tribute & Reception, Los Angeles
- Caribbean American Heritage Month Hollywood Tribute & Reception, Los Angeles
- Caribbean American Heritage Month Mayoral Reception, Miami
- National Student Leadership Conference, New York
- Rum Tasting & Book Launch, New York City
ICS also partnered with or provided support to other organizations to conduct events such as:
- City Hall Breakfast & Reception, Atlanta
- UniFest Business Expo and Multi-Cultural Festival, Miami
- Trade Exposition, Orlando
- City Hall Reception, Oakland
- Ecumenical Church Service, Philadelphia
- Church Service & Family Day, Minneapolis
- Symposium & Reception, Camden
- Press Conference & Reception, Office of Brooklyn Borough President, Brooklyn
- Reception & Concert, Office of Queens Borough President, Queens
Advancing the Interests of Caribbean Americans
Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS)Washington DC
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington DC 20001