Celebrating our Caribbean-American History and Future

Linda-Taglialatela- US Ambassador to Barbados/Eastern Caribbean

By Ambassador Linda Taglialatela

On a rainy Monday just over a month ago, Congresswomen Barbara Lee from Oakland, California and Robin Kelly of Chicago, Illinois visited Vauxhall Primary School.  The school was the first educational institution Shirley Chisholm attended nearly 100 years ago. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.

Chisholm was the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress and the first woman and African American to seek a major party’s nomination for president of the United States 50 years ago this year.

Though born in the United States, Chisholm grew up in Christ Church on her grandmother’s farm, and she always credited the education she received here as the foundation upon which she built her future success.  Congresswoman Lee got her start on Shirley Chisholm’s staff.

Chisholm encouraged her to run for Congress, which she did successfully in 1998, and as a member, Representative Lee sponsored the bill that created Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

It is relationships like these that we celebrate this month.  Caribbean cultures, traditions, and values strengthen the United States and add new chapters to our common story.  Vice President Harris with her own Jamaican roots stands on the shoulders of women like Shirley Chisholm.  Young artists and entrepreneurs from Brooklyn to Bridgetown are inspired by Barbados’ newest National Hero, Rihanna.  The hundreds of thousands of visitors that flow between Barbados and the United States are a testament to our close ties and friendship among our people.

Our countries share the hemisphere’s oldest roots of democracy and representative government.  Those shared values of the rule of law and democratic governance, which with time and sacrifice have guided both our countries to become more inclusive and just, continue to safeguard our human rights.

This coming week, President Biden will welcome Prime Minister Mottley and the leaders of the Western Hemisphere to Los Angeles for the Ninth Summit of the Americas.  The President has a simple but ambitious goal: help the entire hemisphere realize its potential as a region where democracy delivers for everyone and people can realize their aspirations no matter where they live.

The Summit focuses on the bedrock of all our societies: our people.  COVID-19 has claimed more than 2.7 million lives in our hemisphere and inflicted massive economic harm – job losses, declining income, rising poverty.  The economic crisis hit marginalized communities hardest.  Job losses have been especially high for women, younger workers, and those who work in the informal sector.  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised the price of essential goods, from fertilizer to wheat to gasoline.  We have all felt these effects.  The United States remains inextricably linked with the peoples and the economies of the Caribbean and the wider hemisphere.

Through the Summit, we must commit to a green and equitable economic recovery, resilience in our health systems, and revitalized democracies.  The COVID-19 pandemic showed gaps in our public health systems we must work together to overcome.

We must bolster transparent and accountable governance and promote and protect human rights, social inclusion, and gender, racial, and ethnic equity.  We can generate inclusive prosperity by building a digital economy to bring more people into formal jobs, so we must commit to promoting interoperable, resilient, secure, and reliable telecommunications networks and to facilitating affordable, universal broadband Internet access.

Harnessing the hemisphere’s tremendous clean energy potential can serve as a driver for economic development and address the climate crisis, so we must commit to promoting the use of efficient and energy-saving technologies to achieve net zero emissions; cooperating to increase wind, solar, bioenergy, and hydroelectricity; and setting goals to scale-up renewable energy.

Our work together to improve institutions and build resilient communities will contribute to a growing economy, enhance regional safety, and increase opportunities for the people of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

I invite you to join me in celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month 2022.  We have a unique opportunity to meet the health, climate, and economic challenges before us.  The Summit of the Americas offers us the chance to chart that course together. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.

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  1. So our leaders going to hear Biden lecture Caribbean leaders on corruption once again as he did when he was vice president. . I wonder how that Hunter laptop situation working out for him so far!!!!! I sense a pardon on the horizon. Let’s see who corrupt now!!!!!

  2. All of us must know this and never, never forget it:
    “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

    Poetry: I COME FROM THE NIGGER YARD by Martin Carter, a Caribbean (Guyanese) poet, born June 7, 1927, died December 13, 1997.
    …From the nigger yard of yesterday I come with my burden.
    To the world of to-morrow I turn with my strength.

    • Yes @ Ratwell, one of my favourite poems. Martin Carter was an outstanding poet.

      I have also quoted from his book ‘Poems’, and here’s another excerpt from ‘A Mouth Is Always Muzzled’:

      In the premises of the tongue
      dwells the anarchy of the ear;
      In the chaos of the vision
      resolution of the purpose.

      And would shout it out differently
      if it could be sounded plain;
      but a mouth is always muzzled
      by the food it eats to live.

      Rain was the cause of roofs.
      Birth was the cause of beds.
      But life is the question asking
      what is the way to die.

      As I said earlier boss, Martin Carter’s work is outstanding and it’s about time his poetry was recognised as such.

  3. What we as Caribbean people must celebrate our neighbor Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua not invited to the summit of the Americas. I agree with Comrade Ralph history will show we will remember what you did to Cuba over sixty four years of embargo they service the tyranny though a strong education system. Do you remember when the Ebola pandemic hit certain parts of Africa where were the experts WHO it was Cuba who were able to send a brigade of experts to fight this disease. Why the Cuban COVID 19 vaccine is not recognize. I’m hoping that this summit that the leaders of the Caribbean will get some balls like Barbados leader

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