Jamaica Awareness celebrates its 25th anniversary in South Florida with special upcoming tribute

MIAMI – For a quarter-century, Jamaica Awareness (JA) Inc., has been presenting some of the best of Jamaican culture to audiences in the United States, and particularly South Florida and because of its inclusive “Caribbean-Consciousness” approach, such presentations – though aimed primarily at Jamaicans and their celebration of positive Jamaican Culture – have continued to build bridges and strengthen the connections between the various facets of Caribbean cultures, and with the wider community.

Jamaica Awareness Inc. is marking its 25th Anniversary with various events which are aimed, according to the organization’s President, Sydney Roberts, at “increasing the holistic cultural experience” of those who have been attending JA’s events since its beginnings; as well as for those who have come more recently to JA’s 25-year showcasing of Jamaican – and increasingly, Caribbean – cultures, and especially so during Caribbean Heritage Month in June.


“In giving thanks for the many blessings and challenges successfully overcome over the past 25 years, Jamaica Awareness is also saluting those who, in the early years, in the 1970’s and 80’s, were the pioneers in the image-making and banner-bearing for the Caribbean region here in ‘foreign lands,’” says Mr. Roberts.

From even before then, the caravan of Caribbean’s gifts to American life had been re-presented, in their turn, by pioneers such as Anthony Baker, Eslee Carbury, Desi Worrel, Marva Gallimore, Lance Evans, Pat White, Cynthia Wegmann, Viking, Winston Chin Quee, Arnold Henry, Noel Robinson, Selman Lewis, among others, who have gone to join the Ancestors, after helping to shape the forms and directions of Caribbean culture, at home and abroad.

JA’s long-standing relationship with the Caribbean community – and as part of it, at home and abroad – has ensured its presence and input into positive ground-breaking developments; many of these developments are also still being championed, from the 1980’s, by various committed individuals and community organizations, such Clint O’Neil’s Needy Kids Toy Drive, Caribbean Heart Menders, Jamaica Folk Revue, among others.

It should come as no surprise that the massive post-Hurricane Gilbert Relief organizational effort, through which a major portion of the overseas relief to Jamaica was funneled, was run from the offices of Jamaica Awareness. Nor that Jamaica Awareness, Inc., has served as an supportive incubator for other community groups and organizations.

Twenty-five years ago, pioneering media workers and facilitators (some of whom have become media institutions) were springing up among Caribbean immigrants, encouraging the development of various media personalities and products; e.g. Clint O’Neil on WLRN radio, Caribbean Lifestyles magazine, Caribbean Echo newspaper, and eventually the now-many-branched and multi-talented Caribbean Media family.

And that is without mentioning the mutually nurturing relationship between the organization, the Caribbean media community, the abundantly-flowering Caribbean music-and-entertainment industry, and the public. The organization’s pioneering of Reggae concerts in South Florida puts Jamaica Awareness in the forefront of promoters and nurturers of Caribbean music over the past quarter-century, and its long-standing association with the Caribbean Carnival movement is well known and valued. The presence and involvement of Jamaica Awareness in the birth, life, and growth of netball and soccer, and cricket leagues speaks for itself.

Jamaica Awareness Says Thanks To The Early Business Community

Other early pioneers of corporate goodwill, support, and sponsorship for a then-much-smaller Caribbean community included; Albert Lee of Pepper Pot Restaurant on 27 Ave in Miami, across the street from MDC-North, and other Early supporters of Caribbean culture, Just Coool, Rankin Records, and Pepper’s Restaurant in Ft Lauderdale.

These were among a select few (which eventually grew) who stepped up to the plate to strengthen and support the infant South Florida Caribbean community when it reached out.

Jamaica Awareness is also using this opportunity to recognize and salute the very significant, though understated, mutual support between JA, the public, and the stores, shops, and other outlets for tickets and promotional materials.

Jamaica Awareness (JA) says thanks, to the media, with clear recognition of the role of the Caribbean media, and to the political leadership, and especially to the cultural community for their long-standing and committed support.

“JA – Jamaica Awareness Inc. acknowledges and salutes all builders of community, and says Thanks. To those who have been supportive of the Caribbean Community and Jamaica Awareness, whether through sponsorship or morale support, JA says a hearty and sincere

“Tenk yuh!” on behalf of all of us. We look forward to continuing and enhancing the supportive reciprocal relationship between community, organization, corporations, and individuals across, and beyond, the Caribbean,” says Mr. Roberts.

Jamaica Awareness (JA) has been present, and involved, in the budding, building, and growing of the Caribbean community; and as the American community continues to opens its abundant Caribbean gifts, the organization is blessed to be able to be an integral part of a sharing community.

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