2023 Caribbean American Heritage Month: Commemorating Diversity and Celebrating Culture
June is a month filled with vibrant celebrations, commemorations, and observances. From Pride Month to Juneteenth, and many others, there is no shortage of significant events for us to recognize! Amidst this bustling array of festivities, it is important to acknowledge and honor the rich culture, contributions, and history of the Caribbean American community.
Caribbean American Heritage Month, observed annually throughout June, offers a unique opportunity to appreciate and learn from the achievements and experiences of this community. This observance recognizes the immense impact that Caribbean Americans have had on various aspects of American society, including politics, sports, arts, music, literature, and business. The Caribbean region comprises a blend of diverse cultures, languages, and traditions, each contributing its own unique aspect to other cultures in America. The richness of the Caribbean American experience stems from the heritage and ancestral connections to countries like Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and more.
The contributions of Caribbean Americans extend to every facet of American life with many making strides and accomplishments in the business field. Robert L. Johnson is an entrepreneur and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). He became the first African American billionaire and is known as a pioneer in the media industry.
Rohan Marley is the son of Jamaican singer, Bob Markley and is known for his success as an entrepreneur and businessman. He is the co-founder of the popular Marley Coffee brand which specializes in sustainably sourced coffee products.
Dr. Claire Nelson is the founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on promoting Caribbean economic and cultural development. She has been a strong advocate for Caribbean American businesses and has worked extensively to promote economic opportunities and partnerships in the Caribbean region. Their achievements, and the achievements of so many others, have inspired generations and continue to do so today.
From the early waves of Caribbean immigration during the post-slavery era to the recent influx of professionals, entrepreneurs, and artists, Caribbean Americans have played an integral role in shaping America’s social, economic, and cultural landscape. Caribbean American Heritage Month serves as a reminder to appreciate the achievements, history, and ongoing impact of this vibrant culture within American society. By spotlighting Caribbean American culture, we acknowledge the richness and diversity that continues to shape our nation. Let us take this opportunity to learn, appreciate, and celebrate the traditions, achievements, and experiences of Caribbean Americans as we strive for a more inclusive and interconnected society.
2022 National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
In a month jam-packed with diversity celebrations, the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council would also like to take a moment and recognize the contributions of Caribbean-Americans to our nation—and our economy. We hope that by commemorating National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we will remind all Americans that this country’s strength is rooted in its diversity, helping to highlight the pivotal role Caribbean immigrants play in shaping the American dream through their cultures, traditions, languages, and values.
Historically, the Caribbean American population in the United States grows more than 50% every ten years, though the pace of growth has nearly doubled in the last 20 years. According to U.S. Census data, there are around 4.4 million people of Caribbean descent working in and contributing to the U.S. economy and culture. From their distinct cuisine to influential music and dance styles, Caribbean traditions have had a profound impact on U.S. popular culture.
The celebration of Caribbean-American Heritage month began in June 2005 when the House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, which recognized the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States. In February 2006, the resolution passed the senate, with the Proclamation being ultimately issued by President George W. Bush on June 6, 2006.
This year marks the fourteenth celebration of June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. We take this time to celebrate the extraordinary leadership shown by the Caribbean American community, including the achievements of Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black American of Jamaican heritage to hold this high office, and Karine Jean-Pierre, the first White House press secretary of Haitian descent.
We also take the time to remember past visionaries like Alexander Hamilton, one of this nation’s founding fathers, and the late General Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants and the first Black Secretary of State. These and many other leaders have made significant contributions to American society and forged new paths in service to the American people.
This June, we ask you to uplift and celebrate the Caribbean-American entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists, artists, medical professionals, police officers, athletes, and others who are boldly sharing their heritage and culture to create a lasting positive impact on our society.