A time to strengthen Caribbean-U.S. relations

As a Brooklyn native whose roots are firmly planted in my Caribbean heritage, I take great pride in celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month. This month we celebrate and recognize the many contributions Caribbean-Americans have made to this country. This would include people like, iconic actress Cicely Tyson, Former Secretary of State, General Colin L. Powell, legendary singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte and the Honorable Shirley Chisholm.

“Caribbean-American Heritage Month is also a time to strengthen U.S. relations with the many Caribbean nations that we consider allies and neighbors. For this reason, I encourage all of us to continue to support our Haitian brothers and sisters as they work to recover from the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake.

“Last month I joined U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Fredericka Wilson (D-FL) in sending a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in addressing the dire conditions that surround many of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, particularly the rise of gender based violence that occurs due to a lack of a structured security plan. I also joined my colleagues in expressing outrage in response to reports of IDP camps being destroyed in an attempt to relocate people. As a representative of the second largest population of first and second generation Haitian immigrants, I understand the importance of ensuring that our nation and our global community fulfils its commitment to help Haiti fully recover.

“This month of June, I encourage all of us to reflect on our shared experiences, interwoven cultures, and the influence and contributions Caribbean-Americans have made in our society. One love.

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