Caribbean nationals from across the Diaspora joined in a service of thanksgiving yesterday (June 28) at the Ambassador Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lauderdale Lakes to commemorate Caribbean American Heritage Month.
Described as the first annual thanksgiving service, the event was hosted by the Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes, Hon. Barrington Russell, Snr., who also presented a proclamation to the diplomats of the Caribbean Consular Corp representative in the South Florida community.
Mayor Russell said that the recognition of the June month to honor Caribbean heritage was a result of the lasting contributions being made by immigrants from the region, at the same time preserving their respective traditions.
Guest preacher was Dr. Gerry Gallimore, Ambassador at large, Youth for Christ International who challenged the congregation of Caribbean nationals and friends, to seek possibilities and opportunities among the obstacles and challenges encountered in their everyday lives. He continued that despite the challenges each individual should be encouraged to do something for others around us.
Recognizing that Caribbean people are achievers, Dr. Gallimore said that we cannot rest on our laurels, emphasizing that “it’s time for us to climb mountains again, setting some high lofty goals and making efforts to achieve them.”
Expressing gratitude for the many Caribbean achievers who have contributed to the development of the United States, Dr. Gallimore spoke of those persons with Caribbean roots who have served this country in various fields of distinction.
He mentioned former US Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, the recently appointed US Attorney General, Eric Holder, entertainers Sidney Poiter and Sheryl Lee Ralph among the many who have served in the areas of public service, sports, entertainment and the arts, science and education, professionals and corporate leadership.
Reassuring the diverse mix of parishioners that as people of faith, their dreams were possible, he encouraged them to persevere in their endeavors as they continue to build into the fabric of this nation, simultaneously contributing to the development of their respective nations.
The officiating Minister and host Pastor, Henoc Paulicin, in his welcome remarks spoke of the thanksgiving service as “a celebration of togetherness and unity of Caribbean nationals as we honor those who have paved a path of direction for us.”
Selections of song and dance were performed by local artists including soloists Ms. Holly Bowen and Ms. Melanie Amaro, and the dance troupe Shekinah.
Among the participants were public officials from the Cities Commission of Tamarac and Lauderdale Lakes and members of the clergy representing churches with large population of Caribbean nationals.
Since 2006, the White House issued a proclamation declaring June as Caribbean American Heritage Month throughout the USA.