On, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, while the island of Jamaica celebrated, with pomp and circumstance, its 54th year of independence from the United Kingdom, more than 300 Jamaicans, living in the New York metro area, hosted a grand affair.
Billed as the 1st Annual Jambassador Awards & Gala Ceremony, this evening of community, culture and couture served as a celebration of Jamaica’s 54th year-of-independence, as well as an opportunity to highlight accomplishments of Jamaican-Americans living in New York City.
Net proceeds from the event was donated to The Sickle Cell Trust Inc., a 501(3c) a New York-based not-for-profit organization, serving the medical and social needs of individual afflicted with Sickle Cell.
“This was indeed a party with a purpose,” said Patrick Buddington, chief marketing officer of a local communications firm, and executive producer of the event.
“To Jamaicans, as with most immigrant groups migrating to the U.S., Independence Day and other holidays celebrated in their countries of origin, represent an opportunity to bring together family and friends, scattered across the city or country to reminisce about “back home,” he said.
The event, held in the newly renovated Grand Ballroom at Rochdale Village in Queens, New York, was a collaboration with Upscale Productions Inc. and The Sickle Cell Trust Inc. Ms. Carmelita Smith, an ardent supporter of finding relief for families afflicted with Sickle cell, heads both organizations, and contributed her time and expertise to making the event a success.
At this all-inclusive affair, celebrants enjoyed a three-course meal, drinks, dancing, and a special Jamaica 54th Souvenir. The highly celebrated, Platinum-One Band provided live music, and “Oxtail” from Road International kept the party going until 3 am.
“Our primary goal was to provide Jamaicans, friends of Jamaica, as well as those with an interest in the country’s culture, music and arts, a cost-effective way to celebrate Jamaica’s Independence, while recognizing Jamaican-Americans working selflessly to improve the communities where they live. Recipients of the 1st Annual Jambassador Awards are:
Business: Andrew Morris, (MBA), president / CEO — Sam’s Caribbean Marketplace, West Hempstead, NY
Medicine: Dr. Marcia Edmond-Buckner(MD), clinical assistant professor & medical director, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Religion: Bishop DR. R. C. Hugh Nelson, senior pastor, Church of God of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
Education: Dr. Michael Wiltshire (BS, BA, PHD), principal, Medgar Evers College Preparatory School & Boys & Girls HS, Brooklyn, NY
Health & Nutrition: Ms. Gloria Bent(MS, RDN, CDN), associate director, NYC Health and Hospitals/North Central Bronx, NY
The Arts: Mr. Andrew Clarke (BBA), principal / founder, Braata Productions Inc. A Caribbean Folk Arts, Theatre and Education Foundation
Youth Leadership: Ms. Lorice Rodney, recent graduate, Medgar Evers College Preparatory School & Youth Mentor
Community Service Awardees:
o Dr. Norris Weir, Ordained Minister, former member of The Jamaicans, 1967 Festival Song Winner
o Mr Hubert Evans, (87 years), recently received a BBA from Medgar Evers College
o Ms Barbara Dhu (Concerned Friends of Jamaica & Percy Jr. Hospital)
o Ms. Beverly Nichols (Push Start Foundation Inc.)
o Ms. Keyana Tennant (Managing editor, “Women in Engineering”)
About The Sickle Cell Trust Inc.
The Sickle Cell Trust Inc. is a 501(3c), not-for-profit organization, formulated to raise awareness of this illness, and to address the economic, social and medical needs of individuals afflicted with Sickle Cell. Members of Sickle Cell Trust Inc. include medical, social and business professionals from the US and various Caribbean countries. Ms. Carmelita Smith, President of Upscale Productions Inc., is the current President of the Sickle Cell Trust Inc.