Sunday, August 9 was declared ‘Jamaica Day’ in the United States capital, by the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Adrian Fenty.
Mayor Fenty read the proclamation at a Thanksgiving Service to commemorate Jamaica’s 47th year of Independence, at Dumbarton Chapel, Howard University, in Washington, D.C., on August 9.
The Mayor said that Washington, D.C., is proud to be the home to thousands of people of Jamaican descent, and the district’s residents are very appreciative that the Embassy of Jamaica contributes to the educational and cultural lives of its residents. He said it was a signal honour for him to issue the proclamation, as his wife, Michelle, is of Jamaican heritage.
The proclamation read in part: “Jamaica and people of Jamaican descent throughout the world are celebrating the 47th year of Independence. The Jamaican national motto, ‘Out of Many One People’, reflects the fact that people of different races and creeds have lived side by side for centuries to forge a unique Jamaican identity.”
“Therefore, I, Mayor of the District of Columbia, do hereby proclaim August 9 to be Jamaica Day in the District of Columbia and call upon all residents of this city to join me in saluting the nation of Jamaica.”
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Anthony Johnson, thanked Mayor Fenty for the proclamation.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Anthony Johnson, delivers Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding’s Independence message, at a thanksgiving service to mark Jamaica’s 47th year of Independence, on Sunday, August 9, at the Dumbarton Chapel, Howard University, Washington D.C.
“Jamaicans are very honored by your proclamation. It speaks well to the recognition Jamaicans abroad, notably those in the United States capital city, have earned themselves and their country of birth,” he said.
In his special Independence message, read by Ambassador Johnson, Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, called on Jamaicans in the Diaspora to “remain unwavering in your determination to fulfill the dream and vision of our founding fathers. The journey to independence was a difficult one, but our forefathers remained on the ‘road’, refusing to take a detour, even when the obstacles were encountered.”
“The task ahead cannot be accomplished in isolation – there must be collaboration. Our Jamaican Diaspora must play a critical role in this process of advancement. Members of the Jamaican Diaspora have long displayed a love for and loyalty to Jamaica, as is evidenced by their various contributions; and this church service is further evidence that they are willing to share in the special milestones of our nation,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Golding called on Jamaicans in the Diaspora to re-commit to the vision, conceptualised so many years ago – the vision of hope, peace, prosperity and equal opportunity for all.
Delivering the sermon, Rector-designate of Kingston Parish Church, Bishop E. Don Taylor, cited the theme of this year’s Independence celebrations – ‘I Believe in Jamaica’ – as an expression of hope.
“As Jamaicans, we must embrace the theme and live it out in words and deeds,” he urged. He also reminded members of the audience that the liberation of the people from slavery is something we should not take for granted. “We must remember from whence we came as a people, and should not return,” he stressed.
This year’s collection from the service will benefit three charities in Jamaica, the Granville Childcare Facilities for Girls in Granville, Trelawny; the Jamaica Christian Boys Home in Kingston; and the outreach ministry of the Kingston Parish Church.