President Obama Issues Proclamation in Celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month  

The fabric of our Nation has been woven together and enriched by the diversity of our people.  Our legacy as a Nation of immigrants is part of what makes America strong, and during National Caribbean American Heritage Month, we celebrate the rich history and vibrant culture Caribbean Americans have brought to our shores.

Immigrants from Caribbean countries have come to America for centuries.  Some came through the bondage of slavery.  Others willfully left behind the world they knew in search of a better life.  Regardless of the circumstances of their arrival, they had faith their descendants would have a chance to realize their greatest potential.

Caribbean Americans have prospered in every sector of our society and enhanced our national character while maintaining the multiethnic and multicultural traditions of their homelands.  They are doctors and lawyers, public servants and scientists, and athletes and service members.  Their successes inspire individuals in the United States and abroad, and we take pride in the contributions Caribbean Americans continue to make to the narrative of our Nation’s progress.  Their achievements are borne of hard work and ambition, and my Administration is committed to creating pathways to prosperity that ensure future generations of Caribbean Americans, along with all Americans, are able to pursue and realize the American dream.

This month, we also recognize the important friendship between the United States and the countries of the Caribbean as we expand our partnership to promote economic development, democratic governance, citizen security, and improved health and education in the region.  Additionally, as Haiti continues to recover from last year’s devastating earthquake, we remain committed to standing beside the people of Haiti as they rebuild their proud nation, and to working with others in the region to bring lasting prosperity and stability to the country.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2011 as National Caribbean American Heritage Month.  I urge all Americans to commemorate this time when we celebrate the history and culture of Caribbean Americans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.



Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY – 11th District) 

As a Brooklyn native whose roots are firmly planted in my Caribbean heritage, I take great pride in celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month.  This month we celebrate and recognize the many contributions Caribbean-Americans have made to this country. This would include people like, iconic actress Cicely Tyson, Former Secretary of State, General Colin L. Powell, legendary singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte and the Honorable Shirley Chisholm.


“Caribbean-American Heritage Month is also a time to strengthen U.S. relations with the many Caribbean nations that we consider allies and neighbors.  For this reason, I encourage all of us to continue to support our Haitian brothers and sisters as they work to recover from the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake.


“Last month I joined U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Fredericka Wilson (D-FL) in sending a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in addressing the dire conditions that surround many of the Internal Displace Persons (IDP) camps, particularly the rise of gender based violence that occurs due to a lack of a structured security plan.  I also joined my colleagues in expressing outrage in response to reports of IDP camps being destroyed in an attempt to relocate people.  As a representative of the second largest population of first and second generation Haitian immigrants, I understand the importance of ensuring that our nation and our global community fulfils its commitment to help Haiti fully recover.


“This month of June, I encourage all of us to reflect on our shared experiences, interwoven cultures, and the influence and contributions Caribbean-Americans have made in our society. One love.


Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (Fl – 17th District)National Caribbean-American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich history and culture of Caribbean-Americans not only in South Florida, but throughout our entire country. This month, we honor the lasting contributions of the Caribbean community and recognize its achievements in all sectors of civic life, from business to education to public service. It is this hard work and sense of purpose that enriches our nation each and every day.

“As a Bahamian American, I understand first-hand both the opportunities and challenges that the Caribbean Diaspora faces. This is why we must recommit ourselves to addressing the needs of immigrant communities, particularly in South Florida. We must also work to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Caribbean nations to promote trade, economic development, the rule of law, and access to quality health care.

“This month and every month, let us recognize the diverse contributions of the Caribbean-American community and honor its achievements in both word and deed.”

Later this month, Congresswoman Wilson will be honored in a ceremony in Nassau, The Bahamas as the first Bahamian American elected to the United States Congress.


About Institute of Caribbean StudiesEstablished in 1993, the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to education, advocacy and action on issues that impact Caribbean-Americans. The Institute provides a forum for the public and private sector, the non-government organization community, scholars and others interested in promoting a dialogue. It also assist in the execution of actions that result from that dialogue.About Caribbean American Heritage Month

June was first designated as Caribbean American Heritage Month in 2006 when Res. 71 successfully passed the Senate. The national recognition campaign was spearheaded by Dr. Claire Nelson, founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D- CA) introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.  The legislation garnered bi-partisan support and was passed by the House in 2005. It was passed by the Senate in 2006 and signed by President George W. Bush in June 2006

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