The Bronx-based Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. says it was grateful to Council Member Rubén Díaz, Sr. for allocating $35,000 in discretionary funds to the group.
The coalition said the funds were included in the City Council Fiscal Year 2019 Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C “to enhance cultural programming and awareness right here in the Bronx.”
“The funding will be used to provide free demonstrable cultural activity of recognized quality that is accessible to the public, including operational costs associated with special events / activities including performances of music, dance, spoken word, seasonal events, and family programming,” said the coalition in a statement.
Díaz, who recently met with the group, said he “looks forward to working with the Garifuna Community in the 2020 fiscal year,” according to the coalition.
It noted that discretionary funding is a duly appropriated sum of money in the city’s expense budget allocated to an eligible not-for-profit organization by the council or a member of the council.
When the budget for the coming year is adopted by the City Council in June, the Coalition said the Finance Division prepares a supporting schedule detailing the changes made to the Mayor’s discretionary designations that have been made at the time of adoption, including, for initiatives, a short description of the initiative’s programmatic goals.
In 2011, as a result of a meeting with the Garifuna organizations, the coalition said then Senator Díaz invited the first Garifuna Delegation to the New York capitol to be present on the New York State Chamber, “where he introduced a resolution memorializing Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare March 11-April 12, 2011 as Garifuna-American Heritage Month in the state of New York.”
“It was the first time in history that the Garifuna community was invited to the New York capitol to celebrate its heritage,” the coalition said. “This became an annual event in Albany.”
In addition, it said Sen. Rev. Díaz, in conjunction with other elected officials, celebrated the first annual “Abrazo Garifuna in New York.”
This event honored the contributions of the Garifuna-Americans to the state and city of New York. Díaz, together with the other elected officials, presented proclamations to four distinguished members of the Garifuna Community in four different categories.
“The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc is grateful to District 18 Councilmember Rubén Díaz, Sr, for the allocation of the $35,000 discretionary funds to provide free demonstrable cultural activity of recognized quality that is accessible to the public, including operational costs associated with special events/activities including performances of music, dance, spoken word, seasonal events, and family programming,” said Jose Francisco Avila, the Honduran-born chairman of the Board of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.
“The ultimate purpose of the Garifuna Coalition is to ensure that Garifunas in New York have access to resources and opportunities to improve their lives,” he added.