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Map CARICOM Member States

Map of CARICOM Member States
Source: Your US-Brazil Trade Assist

Since 2006 by annual presidential proclamation, June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month in recognition of the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants to the history and culture of the United States. As President Obama said in his Proclamation on May 29, 2015:

Caribbean Americans have shaped the course of our country since the earliest chapters of our history, and they continue to drive our Nation to realize the promise of our founding.  During National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we honor the courage and perseverance of the Caribbean-American community, and we rededicate ourselves to building opportunity and protecting human rights for all our citizens.

The first documented account of Caribbean migration to what would later become the United States dates back to the seventeen century when British slave owners took Afro-Caribbean slaves from Barbados to South Carolina. Most of the earliest Africans who arrived in colonial America were “seasoned” men, women, and children from the Caribbean where newly arrived Africans were “broken-in” psychologically and physically to a life of slavery, as well as conditioned to resist deadly European diseases.

For more information on the numerous waves of Caribbean migration to the USA, see In Motion AAME and The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Latest figures for 2013 indicate that Caribbean immigrants, totaling over 3.9 million, made up nine percent of America’s immigrant population. The majority of Caribbean-Americans, representing 2.6 million, live in Brooklyn, New York.

In her press release on June 4, 2015, in celebration of National Caribbean American Heritage Month, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, representing the Ninth Congressional District of New York, stated:

My parents came to the United States from the island Nation of Jamaica to pursue the American Dream – there are many families in Brooklyn and across the United States who know that story from their own personal experience. The nearly three million Americans of Caribbean heritage have contributed to every part of our civil society, from former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Colin Powell to activist and musician Harry Belafonte and my esteemed predecessor in Congress, the late Honorable Shirley Chisholm.

Upcoming commemorations for National Caribbean American Heritage Month in Los Angeles include the Caribbean Lens Film Festival from June 15 to 19. If you live in Southern California, check out the program and synopses of the films. On June 19th, the Caribbean Heritage: Salute to Hollywood & Excellence Gala will honor six Caribbean-Americans: Dawnn Lewis (Born in Brooklyn of Guyanese parents), Talitha Watkins (Jamaica), Yvette Noel-Schure (Grenada), Caiphus Moore (Trinidad), Dr. Henri R. Ford (Haiti), and Egbert Perry (Antigua).

Learn more about Caribbean American Heritage:

For Caribbean-Americans interested in doing business with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), see Rosaliene’s Very Useful Websites for Trade and Investment.