Local News

Jamaicans in South Florida reminded of their roles as Black heroes

MIAMI GARDENS – In honoring leaders in the Jamaican Diaspora, Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths said that as we rise above our fractured history we continue to excel, and to fashion new heroes.

She was speaking at the “Voices of Jamaica” reception, last Thursday (Feb. 27) hosted by the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce at the Holy Family Episcopal Church in North Miami. to celebrate Black History Month.

Referring to negative periods in our history, the Consul General said that “the process of the formation of the nation of Jamaica, the negation of Africa and blackness has been a constant” adding that the resistance to this negation has been also a constant by people of color in Jamaica.

Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths

Congratulating Jamaican nationals who were serving in public office in the South Florida community, the Consul General also saluted other nationals who she noted “had made their mark” in the Diaspora as well as in Jamaica, in their field of endeavor namely sports, arts and entertainment, diplomatic and public service, academic achievements and those accomplishing extraordinary achievements. There are currently five nationals serving in elected public office in Miami-Dade and Broward.

Mrs. Griffiths also commended the efforts of unsung heroes in our community, praising them for their service and contributions to the development of their respective communities locally and extending to Jamaica, and ensuring the continuity of leadership, even as they define their own personal vision for success, making sacrifices for the betterment of their families, individually.

Speaking of shared values throughout the Diaspora and as a nation, Mrs. Griffiths acknowledged our support of partners of other races evident in the Jamaican Motto “Out of Many One People” which she noted mirrored that of the American Motto “One from Many”. She also reminded her audience that as Black heroes we are beneficiaries of the foresight of American historian, Dr. Carter D. Woodson, known as the founder of Black History Month in 1976.

Mrs. Griffiths praised the works of Jamaica’s National Heroes for their hope and liberating vision, at a time in our history to provide other possibilities of development, self-recognition, patriotism and nationalism, and justice. She singled out National Hero, Marcus Garvey most noted for his contribution to the upliftment of Black achievement in America, reminding us that he remains an exemplar to the present day Jamaican Diaspora making a difference where he stood. “His vision to the Black liberation struggles in the United States is increasingly being recognized as history absolves him,” she added.

She continued to trace the development in Jamaica’s Black history from 1482, beginning with the slave trade highlighting significant periods including the Slave Trade, the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the period of Universal Adult Suffrage leading to Independence, now in its 47th anniversary, reiterating that “we are all stronger in the unity of purpose undergirded by mutual respect.”

Jamaican nationals serving in elected offices gave brief presentations of their service in their respective communities throughout the Diaspora. These included Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes, Hon. Barrington Russell, Commissioner Winston Barnes, of the City of Miramar and Council Member Aster Knight of the Town of Southwest Ranches. Other nationals in office included Florida State Representative, Hazelle Rogers and Council Member Velma Palmer of the City of Miami-Dade.

Entertainment was provided by Jamaican author and folklorist, the Reverend Easton Lee who read excerpts from his writings, and also Jamaican tenor, Mr. Steve Higgins. The event was chaired by President of the JA-USA Chamber, Ms. Marie Gill.

The Jamaica-USA Chamber of Commerce was formed in March 2003 and has grown to a membership of nearly 400 individuals of small businesses and corporations.

Related Articles

Back to top button