Comptroller Scott Stringer told Caribbean Americans that it would be impossible to imagine New York City with out them, noting that the nationals have made the city a great place to live.
“Everyone wants to be in New York because this is an aspirational city, and for centuries Caribbean Americans have shared their civic and economic life here,” said Stringer who celebrated Caribbean American Heritage Month at the Surrogate’s Courthouse in New York City.
In his June 18 address, Stringer said, “I renew my commitment to you as your comptroller to keep the fundamental promise of this city alive where everyone can work, educate their children and build for the future.”
“I believe we must include everybody as we fight to make sure all immigrants who come here, have the same opportunities as previous generations,” he added.
In acknowledging the many activists and successful nationals that were present, Stringer said, “I know that you have made great sacrifices for this city. You not only believe strongly in the Caribbean community, but also in the diversity of our city.
“This is why it’s so important that we take the time to celebrate the different heritage of our city and the people who make special contributions.”
Stringer presented commendations to Brooklyn-born, renowned songwriter Irving Burgie, who is of Barbadian ancestry, Haitian-born Dr. Carole M. Berotte Joseph, fifth president of Bronx Community College, and the Caribbean American Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Community activist and scholar, Dr. Una T. Clarke in introducing Stringer, called the comptroller a progressive and an advocate for the voiceless in the Caribbean, and the community as a whole.
She acknowledged President Obama’s reaffirmation of Caribbean American Heritage Month and noted, “If we don’t use it, we would loose it” before thanking the comptroller for hosting the celebration.
Clarke added, “It is time for us to come together to understand what we have contributed to the Unites States as a nation and use this occasion as a vehicle to organize ourselves to make sure the Caribbean is not marginalize.”
“We must also advocate for those in the Caribbean boarders and make sure America’s foreign policy is even-handed as we fight for immigration reform. We are all in this together. Don’t wait for others to do for us, that which we can do for ourselves,” Clarke added,
The audience including Deputy Consul General of Antigua and Barbuda, Omyma E. David and Ambassador Humanitarian & Diaspora Affairs, Derrick James, enjoyed a colorful dance performance by the St. Lucia Cultural Organization.
Honoree Irving Burgie, an 89-year-old WW II Vet, garnered loud applause when he got up and sang “Islands in the Sun” and the Banana Boat song “Day-O,” made famous by singer Harry Belafonte.
Berotte Joseph in turn, stated how proud she were to be a Haitian-American, and the first from her country to become a college president in the U.S., as she thanked the comptroller for the honor.
Calling Scott Stringer his very good friend, President of CACCI, Dr. Roy A. Hastick thanked the politician and applauded him for his commitment to the development of small businesses, and his ongoing work to help women and minority entrepreneurs.