Ahhh, warm sand at your feet, the surf’s waves, distinct and delectable food, and the air filled with the rhythm of a steeldrum band. To some that is simply thought of as “paradise” while to others it describes “home” or is a part of their family heritage. Some people decide to learn to play the steeldrum because they want to learn to play the unique instrument while others learn from their fathers as it is part of their family legacy. That is how it can be described for many members of CAISO that are Caribbean-American; some being immigrants while others are first born Americans from immigrating Caribbean-Americans.
Since 2006 June has been designated as Caribbean-American Month. It began with a resolution sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee to recognize “the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States.” Annually the White House has issued a proclamation for Caribbean-American Month since 2006 and President Obama once more made June a special month for all Americans, whether they are of Caribbean heritage or not. It is a time to celebrate for those that have special ties to the Caribbean Islands whether through birth or marriage as well as for those that want to immerse themselves into the culture and learn more about what makes the Caribbean and its people unique.
President Obama’s proclamation read, “In their pursuit of success, Caribbean Americans exhibit the traits all Americans prize: determination, a devotion to community, and patriotism. They have made their mark in every facet of our society, from art to athletics and science to service. Caribbean Americans have also safeguarded our Nation in the United States Armed Forces." Read the full proclamation here: Official Caribbean-American Heritage Month Presidential Proclamation
Congresswoman Barbara Lee stated, “Americans of Caribbean ancestry reside in every part of the country. Millions have emigrated from the Caribbean to the United States. Throughout our history, Caribbean-Americans have served our country and contributed to the heritage of the United States through the arts, science, education, business, sports, military and government. The annual resolution allows Congress to continue recognizing the important contributions of Caribbean-Americans to our nation's history."
There are celebrations and educational events being held all over the country, for more information about those events and to learn more please visit the Official Caribbean-American Heritage Month site: Official Caribbean-American Heritage Month
The Nation’s Capital will be specifically celebrating June 9-16 with the Caribbean American Festival of the Arts and Humanities. Sponsored by the Institute of Caribbean Studies, the Allspice 2012 event will bring “the nation’s capital a Taste of the Caribbean through literature, music and other arts.” For more information go here: Allspice 2012