Washington, DC — April 6, 2006. The growing clout of the Caribbean Diaspora, the pending immigration bill, the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on the region and the destabilizing effect of the deportees on the Caribbean, were issues that dominated the discussion at the 3rd annual Caribbean Days on Capitol Hill Conference, held in Washington, DC from April 3-5, 2006. Conference participants were unified in the goal of ensuring that issues of interest to the Caribbean Diaspora move to the forefront of American policy and politics.
The conference was entitled “Caribbean Days on capitol Hill (CDOCH), and its theme “The Challenge Continues, Its Global, Its Personal, Its Partnerships”. This conference was hosted by Caribbean People International Collective, Inc. (CPIC), a non-profit organization established in 1995 in Brooklyn, New York, and is registered in Washington DC and Virginia. CPIC also has an office in the Caribbean, and partners with other Caribbean organizations. The major focus conference were the issues of Immigration, health and behavioral issues that restrict and/or facilitate the ability Caribbean-American community to economically empower itself, and the Caribbean regions control of the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Panel discussion topics included health and immigration, HIV stigmatization and discrimination, deportation and Caribbean infrastructures, the Impact of post 9/11 environment on new immigration laws, voting and its relationship to new laws on immigration, alcohol /drug use and the spread of HIV, grant writing and funding options for grass root organization, (NGO’s and CBO’s), the health care system and immigrant access to medical care. Conference participants also participated in a Social Action Luncheon and evening reception.
Other panelists included Caribbean Ambassadors who attended the conference, the Honorable Denis Antoine (Ambassador of Grenada) and First Secretary Ann-Marie Layne Campbell representing the Honorable Deborah Mae Lovell (Antigua & Barbuda), both of whom discussed issues that negatively affect both the Caribbean Diaspora and the region.
Yesterday, April 5, 06, CDOCH team took Capitol Hill by storm to address Caribbean related issues. The CDOCH Team met with congressional representatives and members of the Senate to express gratitude and appreciation for their support of the H. Con. Res. 71 bill acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of Caribbean-American, and designates the month June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Another issue the CDOCH team discussed with congressional and senate representatives, was the bill H.R. 4437 to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, which CPIC does not support. CDOCH TEAM successful conducted meetings with the following Rep. & senators: Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (6th District, NY), Rep. Ed Towns (10th District, NY), Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (11th District, Ohio), Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (14th District, Michigan), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (18th District, Texas), Rep. Albert R. Wynn (4th District, MD).
Staying true to the mission of the CDOCH conference, CPIC launches a new initiative, the National Caribbean-American Health/ AIDS Awareness Day (NCAHAAD). The 1st Annual NCAHAAD event is dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles among people of color, especially those of Caribbean descent. The NCAHAAD is created to encourage Caribbean-Americans to visit a health professional, (a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant or another health provider), attend a health event in the community, or to help a friend, neighbor, or family member to do the same. The initiative will also promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging individuals to participate in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing to reduce the spread of the disease in the Caribbean-American community.
Ms. Dawn Stewart, Founder/CEO of CPIC, Inc in a recent press interview with WLIB Radio (New York) on the eve prior to the commencing of the conference stated her main reasons for establishing the CDOCH Conference. She stated, “We Caribbean immigrants have a great deal to be proud of, and much to celebrate for we have made enormous contributions to the United States and our birth countries. We have migrated to the United States and pledged our very hearts to the ideals and principles of the democratic society we now call home.” Ms. Stewart also stresses how imperative it is for us (Caribbean-American) to remember that we stand on the shoulders of our past leaders, teachers and pioneers. Let us not forget their significant contributions to the United States of America, their legacy, our long and rich history, our civic responsibility to exercise the right to vote, and lastly our moral obligation to assist in the struggle to move the “Caribbean into action”.
CONTACT: Truda Hickman, Secretary of the Caribbean People International Collective Inc. 703 441-2619 or 718 282-9255, [email protected]