Caribbean pols extend holiday greetings

Most Caribbean elected officials in Brooklyn did not miss the opportunity to extend holiday greetings to constituents.

“Today, millions of Christians around the world are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn. “Jesus, the son of G-d, began his life on earth as a humble immigrant who sought a better life, and the revolutionary values of equity and justice that he proclaimed have sustained across centuries.

“As we exchange gifts and engage in traditions with our families and friends, let us exhibit love and kindness as a reflection of the true reason for this holiday and what is honored on Christmas,” Williams added. “The holidays are about coming together as one family to celebrate the blessings we have been given and the values we hold dear together.

“My family, my staff, and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” he continued.”

Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, said: “Those who celebrated Chanukah, we hope you had a Freilechen Chanukah; those who are celebrating Christmas, a very Merry Christmas; those who are celebrating Kwanzaa, a Happy Kwanzaa.

“As we enjoy this holiday season with our loved ones, I would like to take this time to thank everyone for their strong support, well wishes and continued partnership,” said Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “May these holidays truly bring peace and joy to you and your families.”

Bichotte’s counterpart, Assembly member Diana Richardson, the daughter of St. Martin and Aruba immigrants, said: “May your days be filled with peace, hope and joy this Christmas holiday, as we reflect on the blessings on our lives, family and the community.

“I encourage you to cherish those you love and give thanks for those we hold dear,” said Richardson, who represents the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “As always, thank you for your encouragement and support.”

On Kwanzaa, Richardson noted that the holiday “continues to build bridges for traditional African values.”

“It is my hope that we use this time to focus on feast and gift-giving,” she said, stating that Kwanzaa was formed in 1966, when Dr. Maulana Karenga “sought to find ways to bring African Americans together as a community by combining several harvest celebrations from the Ashanti and Zulu in order to form the foundation of what we now call Kwanzaa.”

Richardson said the name Kwanzaa itself derived from “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits” in Swahili.

She said millions of people “now celebrate this holiday in their own way, through African drums, storytelling poetry reading and large traditional meals.”

Richardson said a central part of this holiday is the observation of the Seven Principles.

“I encourage you to continue to connect with friends and family during this shared tradition,” she said.

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