Monday, November 30, 2009

The 16th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards Highlights the Count Us Caribbean Census Campaign

Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of Institute of Caribbean Studies and Arnold Jackson, Associate Director, Decennial Census at the 16th Anniversary of the Caribbean American Heritage Awards, November 13, 2009 in Washington, DC.

The Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards held its 16th anniversary on Friday, November 13, 2010 at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. celebrating and highlighting people from the Caribbean and the gains they have made in the United States. The annual gala, which is a flagship event of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), celebrates the contributions, legacies and future of those of Caribbean heritage. I'd like to thank Global Hue, one of the gala sponsors for inviting me as a guest at their table!

ICS Honorees span the range of sectors from health, to education to housing development and include Earl Graves, CEO and Publisher of Black Enterprise who is of Barbadian heritage, and actress Cicely Tyson, who is of Nevisian heritage. The Gala has also honored Friends of the Caribbean such as former Congressman Kweisi Mfume, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Special guests of the evening included Michael Blake, Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Maureen Bunyan, anchor for ABC-7 in Washington, DC.

This year, ICS used the GALA as an opportunity to kick into high gear its Count Us Caribbean Campaign, which ICS Founder and President Dr. Claire Nelson leads as Chair of the National Caribbean American Complete Count Committee. Arnold Jackson, Associate Director for Decennial Census of the Census 2010, attended and brought Special Remarks on the 2010 Census.

“The 2010 Census is a Constitutional responsibility and is vital to growing and building communities. We do not share your answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities – all information are kept confidential,” said Arnold Jackson. “An accurate census affects how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding are spent each year in local communities, which translates into more jobs, increased human services and a healthier local economy.”

In an effort to maximize the number of participants, the Census is concentrating on hard-to-count audiences and has reached out to several key people in diverse communities to help spread the word about the importance of the Census. Dr. Claire Nelson, a Jamaican, was selected as a National Profile Partner of the Census and is developing outreach strategies to target the Caribbean communities.

“The Caribbean population in America must be represented in full for continued economic and political progress in our community,” said Nelson. “We must communicate to all Caribbean Americans that participation in the U.S. Census will not adversely affect our communities, but instead will allow them to flourish and be strengthened. Whether you are immigrant or native born; whether documented or not; whether Barbadian, Haitian, Jamaican, whether African descent of Asian origin, it is important to us and our children that we stand up and be counted.”

More on the 2010 Census http://2010.census.gov/news/
More on the Institute of Caribbean Studies http://www.icsdc.org/

The 2009 Honorees are: Willard Wigan, M.B.E, Micro Sculptor; George Willie, C.P.A., Managing Partner,Bert Smith & Co.; Hon. Shirley Nathan Pulliam, Member, Maryland House Of Delegates; Lynton Scotland, Vice President Operational Excellence, Nrg Energy Inc.; Alison Hinds, Soca Diva & Performing Artiste; Dr. Anthony Kalloo, Natural Orifice Surgery Pioneer & Chief Of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Johns Hopkins; and Hon. Usain Bolt, Elite Athlete.

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