Call for unity at Rockaways carnival

Masqueraders decked out in costumes at the 3rd Annual Caribbean Carnival in the Rockaways, Queens.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

The 3rd Annual Caribbean Carnival in the Rockaways, hosted by Senator James Sanders Jr., and the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, revved up the carnival season, last Saturday, with a spectacular presentation to showcase the radiant diversity in the cape.

The compact parade with decorated floats and revelers in exotic costumes, made a loud noise through the town that is home to a large Caribbean population.

Spectators lined the streets with flags raised as masqueraders put on quite a show, gyrating to live infectious Caribbean music from elaborate speakers and deejay trucks, as the parade made its way along the streets.

The T&T Corruption mas band, led by a large twin-island flag and revelers in bedazzling white costumes and white feathered headpieces, brought the spirit of the islands to the Rockaways.

The NYPD Explorers, the Warrior-Scholar Martial Arts group, the Rock Safe Streets Don’t Shoot initiative, the NYC Stan Pepper Steppers, the Lion’s Club, and local businesses, all showed their pride and love of cultural diversity.

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, the largest employer in Far Rockaway, Queens, and a co-sponsor of the Caribbean Carnival, represented with a decorated float to promote the excellent services the institution provides to the community.

Renée Hastick-Motes, mpa vice president, external affairs, Episcopal Health Services Inc., congratulated the 3rd Annual Caribbean Carnival committee, for showcasing the West Indian culture, noting that there is a large Caribbean population in the peninsula and praised St. John’s as the number one employer in the Rockaways.

“We have a large Caribbean employee population, and as such, we make sure we participate in all events in the community,” said Hastick-Motes, adding, “We want the community to know that we are not only a healthcare institution, we are also a community partner as well.”

Nurses and administrative staff of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Episcopal Health Services Inc., joined the parade as masqueraders, she said.

Perched atop a float, Senator James Sanders Jr. called for unity in communities, stating that the carnival is a celebration of great diversity in the Rockaways.

The politician, who has represented the 10th Senatorial District, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, for the past six years said, “we need unity between our communities,” while using the occasion to address immigration issues.

“We are going to liberate the Rockaways, in the ‘people’s republic’ of South East Queens, we welcome you all,” he assured.

The carnival, he said, is to inspire local people to create their own businesses. He encouraged citizens to use the celebration as a springboard where “we can not only showcase our greatness, but create businesses that would enable our community to grow.”

“We are three years, and growing every year. We will double, next year, we will literally be on the beach,” Sen. Sanders Jr. said.

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bishotte joined the senator in calling for unity, while displaying flags of Guyana and Haiti. She said it was important to unite, especially at this time when others are working to railroad immigration policies.

“We want to continue pushing for immigration policies to help constituents to build this county,” she said.

Tiffany Caban, former candidate for Queens district attorney, called the ‘People’s DA of Queens’ by Sen. Saunders, said it was a beautiful thing to connect and organize, but organizing should not only happen during election cycle, but everyday to show the power of the community.

“This event is reflective of our values and culture and we must continue coalition building for our community,” said Caban.

Jean Joseph, president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, WIADCA, came out to show support for the carnival and thanked Sen. Sanders for carrying on the West Indian legacy.

She also invited the crowd to join in the festivities in Brooklyn from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, saying, “let’s move forward on the Parkway.”

The carnival, that was also attended by Angela Chambers, representative of the office of Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, began at Beach 20th Street and Seagirt Boulevard picked up more revelers along the way before ending at Bays Water Park, for a day of steel pan music, food and live entertainment.

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