[WASHINGTON, DC] – National Caribbean American Heritage Month Celebrations will open with an Official Ceremony on June 1st at 10:00 am EDT. The event will be hosted virtually on the Zoom platform and will feature keynote speaker, Barbara Feinstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. – Click here to register.
Barbara A. Feinstein, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti. Ms. Feinstein most recently served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Caribbean Affairs, Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, and Central America with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She has held various leadership positions with USAID, including as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs; Deputy Chief of Staff to Administrator Rajiv Shah, Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham; and Special Assistant to Administrator Henrietta Fore. Other assignments include service with the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.
Ms. Feinstein has served on the professional staff of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and the House International Relations Committee of the United States Congress. She holds a Master’s degree in International and Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies, Spanish and Portuguese from the University of California-Berkeley. Ms. Feinstein speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
Other invited speakers include: H.E. Lynn Young, Ambassador of Belize to the USA and Chair of the CARICOM Diplomatic Caucus; Ambassador Donna Forde, Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM; Dr. Didacus Jules, Director-General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
Internationally acclaimed Jamaican tenor, Steve Higgins will be a featured performer. Steve has been singing and touring locally and internationally for over 25 years. Performing favorites from Sacred, Classical, Broadway, Ballads, Jazz to Folk musical genres with an infusion of island music from his native Jamaica.
He sang with the internationally acclaimed Jamaican Folk Singers, for over 23 years, spreading Jamaica’s culture across the continents. Steve was the headliner at the Birmingham (UK) Commonwealth Association’s Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her 90th birthday. In addition, he has sung at the New York Mets Games. Plus, he has presented numerous solo recitals in Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean.
A Tenor soloist & recording artist, certified by the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (voice), he has four solo albums to his credit: “Sacred” – a beautiful assortment of timeless Inspirational classics; “All For You”– a collection of Jazz & Love Standards; “Dis Long Time” – showcasing authentic Jamaican Folk Songs; and “Echoes of Jamaica” – more Jamaican Folk songs.
South Florida Caribbean Chorale
In 2001 Higgins founded the celebrated “South Florida Caribbean Chorale”, which hosts the annual classic Christmas concert series for the South Florida community, and which leads the annual Jamaican Consulate’s Independence Service. His concerts have raised funds for charities including The Haiti earthquake fund, and The Bahamas Hurricane fund. Plus, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
Roxborough Folk Choir
The Roxborough Folk Choir from Tobago will also make a guest appearance. Their ten-day tour to Arizona begins at the end of June. They will be featured in Caribbean American Heritage Month celebrations in Phoenix, Tucson and Scottsdale.
National Caribbean American Heritage Month Designation
Since 2006, June has been designated as National Caribbean American Heritage Month by Presidential Proclamation. Caribbean Americans have contributed to the development of the United States in extraordinary ways. Millions of people in the United States are connected to our Caribbean Neighbors.
“Standing in Our Legacy to Reignite our Future” is the theme for the June 2022 Caribbean Heritage Month. It is being celebrated across the United States. Specifically in recognition of the contribution of the Caribbean Peoples to the culture and economy of the nation.
Caribbean American Legislative Week
The ‘SMART’ Caribbean Gathering and Caribbean American Legislative Week are the main intellectual components of the month-long celebrations in which Caribbean-American leaders and sector-knowledge experts come together to discuss issues affecting the Caribbean Region as well as Caribbean Americans. It is expected that members of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus and US administration officials, will also participate in timely discussions of policy issues affecting the Caribbean American community in Legislative Week, June 20-24th.
Growing Caribbean American Community
“This year’s events reflect the growing consciousness of our community on the need to show up and be counted” said Dr. Claire Nelson, ICS President & Founder, a White House Champion of Change and Forbes Top 50 female futurists.
“Since the beginning, ICS has worked together with our partners and stakeholders around the country to successfully grow awareness of the commemoration; and more importantly signal a sea change in Caribbean immigrant relationships with the political and policy elite here in the US. The onus is on us as Caribbean community leaders to be present in the room, and if needed bring our folding chair, as the powers-that-be attempt to construct a path forward in the post COVID world. Our SMART Caribbean Forums on the Blue Green Economy, the Creative Economy and the MSME Economy will play like an innovation mas camp for Caribbean joy makers and change artistes”, Dr. Nelson added.
Additionally, a variety of cultural celebrations, carnivals and festivals are planned. Including California to Georgia, Massachusetts and all points in between.