By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. June 1, 2021: It’s the official start of National Caribbean American Heritage Month in the United States, signed into law by President George W. Bush 15 years ago, but despite a Caribbean roots vice-president in the White House this year, there has been no proclamation as of noon EST.
The only proclamations today are “A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, 2021” and a “National Immigrant Month.” Since 2006, June has been designated as National Caribbean American Heritage Month by Presidential Proclamation.
This as the Joe Biden White House has not only Kamala Harris who traces her roots to the Caribbean, but a deputy press secretary in Karrine Jean Pierre who was born in the Caribbean as well as a recently confirmed deputy attorney general with roots also in the Caribbean among other Caribbean born and Caribbean heritage staffers. The start of the month was also ignored by the US State Department, taking its cue obviously from the White House, as it too heralded the launch of Pride Month.
Invest Caribbean CEO Felicia J. Persaud, who in January teamed up with several Caribbean organizations and artistes under the CAAN umbrella to host a celebration of Harris’ as the US’ first black Caribbean American VP, called the ignoring of the month “a sign of the absolute disrespect of Caribbean immigrants in the United States.”
“Donald Trump, despite all his many faults, actually spent the entire four years of his administration, declaring CAHM without fail. For an administration with a Caribbean roots vice president and so many staffers who were born there and have roots there to simply ignore the start of this wonderful month shows exactly how little the region and Caribbean Americans mean to them,” said Persaud. “Shame on you Kamala Harris and shame on you Karrine Jean Pierre and your administration.”
There are millions of Caribbean Americans in the United States whose heritage runs back to slavery. They include slaves from Barbados who were brought to the US to work on South Carolina plantations; the founder of Chicago, Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable and America’s Greatest immigrant and the US’ first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton.
Today, Caribbean Americans make up a large percentage of the black voting population and are put at over 10 million nationally conservatively and are in every facet of life in America. They were at the frontline of the battle against COVID-19 with the first person in the US to receive a COVId-19 vaccine being a nurse born in the Caribbean even as thousands lost their lives to the disease.
The month-long observance is meant to promote the rich culture and heritage of the Caribbean American people and their contribution to the United States of America.