Garinagu activist to be honored

Guatemalan activist Carlos Gotay will be honored for his continuous efforts for the preservation of Garifuna spirituality during the Fourth Annual Yellow, White, Black Garifuna Settlement Day 2011 Fundraising Gala, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19 at The Eastwood Manor, 3371 Eastchester Rd. in The Bronx.

“The Board of Directors of the Coalition Garifuna, USA, Inc. is proud to recognize Mr. Carlos H. Gotay for his outstanding support to the promotion and preservation of the Garifuna spirituality and invites the community to join us in recognizing him,” a release from the organization states.

Gotay was born in Puerto Barrios Izabal, in the Central American country of Guatemala. From 2002 to the present, he has led the Garinagu Tida Ligilisi Katolica — an organization dedicated to motivate and promote the Garifuna Ancestral Spirituality, as well as knowledge and understanding of the Garifuna religious practice in harmony with the Roman Catholic Church.

Through his organization, he has organized four general assemblies of the Garifuna Community of the Catholic Church in Los Angeles California, four in New York, one in Guatemala and one in Belize with the participation of the ecclesiastical authorities of the Catholic Church of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and the United States and their respective Garifuna Pastorals.

He also sponsored the participation of Monsignor Gabriel Peñate in the Garifuna Ceremonial Temple of Milinda in Livingston in August of 2006 and 2008.

Gotay has also achieved the official recognition of the Garifuna community as members of the Catholic Church by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

He has also participated in the writing and acceptance of the Garifuna language Missal by the Roman Catholic Church for use in religious ceremonies in the Garifuna communities in its own language, with the participation of the dioceses and pastoral of San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Izabal Guatemala; Belize and New York.

During the past five years he has held a Garifuna language mass at the Saint Augustine Catholic Church in the Bronx.

Gotay has a very extensive community organizing career, which started in 1979 when he attended a 21-day youth camp representing the Only the Boys of Puerto Barrios youth group, sponsored by the Guatemalan National Youth Program. There, he became interested in seeking solutions to the social problems affecting our society.

In 1985, during a trip to his hometown, he saw the need to organize the community with a common representation to seek change for individual and collective progress. He joined forces with Mr. Julio Arzú and began the registration process to formalize an organization to represent the Guatemalan Garifuna Community; subsequently creating the Association of Gotay Guatemalan Garifunas Yurumein incorporated of New York in October 1986.

Gotay has represented the Guatemalan Garifuna Community in NALAC and COMGUATE. which deal with the immigration issue in the United States.

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