“Communities across the United States are home to proud, diverse Caribbean Americans. Every June, we celebrate the important contributions made by Caribbean Americans with Caribbean-American Heritage Month,” Lee, who represents California’s 13th Congressional District, said last Friday.
“Caribbean Americans bring tremendous pride, love and dedication to this nation,” she added. “They are our teachers, doctors, attorneys, entrepreneurs, and artists — their hard work uplifts our nation and brings communities together.”
Lee said she was inspired to join public service by her mentor, the late U.S. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, a daughter of Barbadian and Guyanese parentage, “whose unbought and unbossed convictions opened the door for women in politics.”
“This June, as we celebrate the accomplishments of Caribbean Americans, I encourage you to read and learn more about the rich culture and history shared between the Caribbean and the United States,” said Lee, who led the effort to establish June as Caribbean American Heritage Month more than a decade ago.
In June 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, authored by Lee, recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States.
On Feb. 14, 2006, the resolution passed the U.S. Senate, culminating a two-year, bipartisan and bicameral effort.
President George W. Bush then issued a proclamation declaring June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month.
Currently, Lee serves on the House Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all U.S. federal government spending.
She also serves on three subcommittees: State and Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs of the Appropriations Committee.
Lee, who currently serves as co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, is the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (111th Congress) and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (109th & 110th Congresses).
Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald J. Trump proclaimed June National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, saying that during the month, the U.S. honors America’s “long-shared history with our neighbors in the Caribbean and celebrate the Caribbean Americans who have enriched our nation.”
“Caribbean Americans embody the American spirit, with their talents and hard work contributing greatly to America’s economy,” said Trump in the White House proclamation. “They protect our citizens as law enforcement officers, serve our communities as public officials, and mentor our country’s young people as educators.
“Through their tremendous athleticism and determination, they have brought pride to the hearts of the American people as members of numerous US Olympic teams,” he added. “Their leadership and resolve have made incredible contributions to our society.”
As trailblazers, Trump said Americans with Caribbean roots have “sewn their own unique thread into the fabric of our nation.”
He noted that Dr. William Thornton, a native of the British Virgin Islands, designed the United States Capitol and is generally considered the first “Architect of the Capitol.”
Trump also noted that Jean Baptiste du Sable, the first permanent resident of Chicago, was born in Haiti. Widely recognized as the “Founder of Chicago,” du Sable’s “prosperous trade settlement has become one of the most iconic cities in the world,” the U.S. President said.
“This month, we acknowledge the numerous contributions of Caribbean Americans to our nation, including those of the more than 4 million Caribbean Americans who live in the United States today,” Trump added. “We are also deeply grateful to the many Caribbean Americans who have served or are currently serving our country as members of our Armed Forces.”