26 honored at 2016 Caribbean Impact Awards

From left, Marlon Peterson, Patrick Buddington, Rev. Dionne P. Boissiere, Cindy Similien-Johnson, Ricot Dupuy, Pastor Anthony Quintyne, and Lindiwe Kamau were several of the 25 honorees of the 2016 Impact Awards feted at a gala hosted by Caribbean Life at Paradise Catering Hall on Nov. 17.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

They were the most impactful.

The second annual Caribbean Impact Awards honored 26 persons this year, men, women, young, and old, hailing from all over the Caribbean at Paradise Caterers in Gravesend on Nov. 17. The ceremony honors Caribbean Americans who are influential forces in their communities and recognizes their standout hard work.

Many of the honorees held various titles, from chefs, church leaders, educators, and entrepreneurs came with their friends and family to accept their honors. One honoree was thrilled about his nomination and said the award recognized more than his business skills but the neighborhood he serves.

“I want to thank Caribbean Life for this great honor and not for a second do I think they’re just honoring me,” said Andrew Walcott, founder and CEO of Fusion East. “I think they‘re honoring what we’re doing in the East New York community.”

Motivational speaker Dennis Rahiim Watson, who presented a humorous quote-along on Caribbean motherhood, said the audience was very receptive to his presentation, which displayed the universal upbringing many Caribbean parents raise their children on.

“I try to bring a basic message and it was nice to see people, especially young folks laughing,” said Watson, who is of Bermudian descent. “It is the number one priority in America for Caribbean people to be recognized, but outside of music we don’t get recognized often.”

The Caribbean Impact Awards celebrate Caribbean-born and Americans of Caribbean descent who are not only achieving greatness in their professions, but also giving back to their community, said associate publisher Ralph D’Onofrio.

Caribbean Life is more than just a newspaper, it is an organization which encourages Caribbean-Americans to strive to their best potential said master of ceremony and award-winning Caribbean Life journalist, Nelson A. King.

“Sometimes people work hard and no one remembers them,” he said. “We are different from other publications because the paper is not just about a business — the paper cares about the community and the people, and it encourages others to keep working because they’ll know somebody is looking.”

With their loved ones celebrating with them, King said the support shown to the honorees means more award ceremonies to come.

“The audience were very fantastic and bubbling with enthusiasm,” he said. “There was no sign of boredom — they wanted to be there and really celebrating and that’s a good sign for Caribbean Life and the impact awards.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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