JIS News

The fourth annual African American-Caribbean Heritage Festival will be celebrated throughout the month of May in Miami.
This festival is spearheaded by the communities of Liberty City and Brownsville, which comprise largely African-Americans, immigrants from Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica and other Caribbean islands.
In an effort to bridge the cultural gap among the various ethnic groups, several activities have been planned to celebrate the one-month event, including educational forums; an essay competition, to include the children in those communities; inter-generational heritage tours, a street fair and a thanksgiving service as a tribute to the ancestors.
On Friday, May 14 there will be a book fair and panel discussion, featuring African-American and Caribbean authors. An ‘Afro-Caribbean’ Bash and Consular Village has been planned for Saturday, May 15. At this event, Caribbean Consulates located in South Florida will have the opportunity to celebrate each country’s culture and heritage through displays of artifacts and entertainment.
Some 13 individuals will receive awards for their outstanding contributions in community development at the ‘Distinguished Sons and Daughters’ awards luncheon on Sunday, May 16. Selections have been made from the fields of education, public service, entrepreneurship and business, journalism, literature and art, law and law enforcement, civil rights and community activism, social work, entertainment, health care, and parenting success.
The Liberty City and Brownsville communities began celebrating heritage days in September 1999. The intent of the first celebration days was to celebrate the positives in the community and acknowledge the distinguished and prominent who were born, raised and educated and contributed to the development of those communities.
Because of its overwhelming success, the event was expanded to include more activities celebrating the diversity, unity, heritage and civic pride throughout the neighbouring communities and involving the wider migrant communities.
The theme, ‘A look at our past and our hope for the future’ has been the theme of celebration for the past three events. Used as a catalyst for change, the events celebrate a rich past and forge a future for the younger generation of the predominantly black and immigrant communities.
The committee members for the annual events are volunteers from City and County offices, elected officials, community organizations and diplomatic officials. Funded through donations, contributions and grants, the events are intended to raise cultural awareness and create a sense of heritage, pride and belonging to persons in those communities.

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