As the tapping of steel pan drums created a shimmering percussion, and the aroma of various Island foods wafted through the air, exotic dancers created a colorful ambience. No – this wasn’t the sight of an elaborate parade in the city. Conveniently, it was the Caribbean-American Heritage Month celebration that took place right in the community at the recreational grounds behind State Senator Roxanne Persaud’s District Office, 1222 East 96th Street.
Hosted by Assemblywoman Jaime Williams and Senator Persaud, in conjunction with the 69th Precinct Community Council, hundreds gathered to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of the Caribbean while recognizing the impact their ancestors had on American culture and history.
“When we think about the generations that have come before us – I think back and there are so many luminaries who came here in the early 19th Century and have continued to contribute on so many different levels,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY 9th District). “We have to stop, we have to pause, we have to recognize and thank God for their contributions. We fast forward to today, and even in the U.S. House of Representatives, we have the first Haitian-born woman from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, serving alongside me. There are so many others within the National Black Caucus, within the Latino Caucus, who come from the Caribbean region. And we are focused on recognizing that when you are a ‘hyphenated-American,’ you have an extra obligation to cast your vote. You can also be helpful in directing the relationship between the United States and the region from which you’ve come from.”
Sponsors, partners and supporters of the event included Four Seasons Healthcare Solutions, Millennium Development, The Newton Foundation, Kings Plaza and Bical Auto Mall. Dignitaries included Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Assemblywoman Monique Chandler-Waterman, State Senator Kevin Parker, Councilwomen Mercedes Narcisse and Farah Louis, Borough President Antonio Reynoso, District Leader Frank Seddio and District Manager Sue Ann Partnow.