National Caribbean-American Heritage Month Celebrates Thirteenth Anniversary
In June 2005, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States. On February 14, 2006, the resolution similarly passed the Senate, culminating a two-year, bipartisan and bicameral effort. The Proclamation was issued by President George Bush on June 6, 2006.
Since the declaration, the White House has issued an annual proclamation recognizing June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month. This year marks the eighth anniversary of June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month.
The campaign to designate June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month, was spearheaded by Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies. Through the commemoration of this month, we hope to ensure that America is reminded that its greatness lies in its diversity, with Caribbean immigrants from founding father Alexander Hamilton, to journalist Malcolm Gladwell, who have shaped the American dream.
President Joe Biden Proclaims June 2021 as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
America’s diversity is and always has been the defining strength of our Nation — in every generation, our society, spirit, and shared ambitions have been refreshed by wave after wave of immigrants seeking out their American dream. Throughout our history, Caribbean Americans have brought vibrant cultures, languages, traditions, and values that strengthen our country and add new chapters to our common story. In recognition of Caribbean Americans’ countless gifts and contributions to our Nation, we celebrate National Caribbean-American Heritage Month.
Caribbean Americans have made our country more innovative and more prosperous; they have enriched our Nation’s arts and culture, our public institutions, and our economy. I am honored to celebrate this National Caribbean-American Heritage Month alongside Caribbean-American barrier-breaking public servants in my Administration — including Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice — all of whom continue to be sources of pride and inspiration for Caribbean Americans across the country.
Caribbean-American intellects and artists like James Weldon Johnson, the poet who gave us the anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing; celebrated neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat; and John B. Russwurm, the first Caribbean-American editor of a U.S. newspaper, have left a lasting impact on our country. Caribbean-American jurists like Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman appointed to the Federal bench, and the Nation’s first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, have made innumerable contributions to the American justice system. Shirley Chisholm, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, blazed new trails as our Nation’s first Black Congresswoman — and the first Black woman to launch a major-party bid for the Presidency. Public servants like Antonia Novello, our Nation’s first female Surgeon General, and Colin Powell, our first Black Secretary of State, have followed in her footsteps, charting new paths of their own in service to the American people.
Despite the powerful legacy of achievement of Caribbean Americans, many members of the Caribbean-American community continue to face systemic barriers to equity, opportunity, and justice. Systemic racism has uniquely impacted Black and Latino immigrant communities, including Caribbean Americans, leading to disparities in health care, education, housing, criminal justice, and economic opportunity. My Administration is committed to addressing those entrenched disparities — and to bringing our Nation closer to its promise that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout their lives. That is why I have launched a whole-of-government approach to advancing racial justice and equity.
During National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we celebrate the legacy and essential contributions of Caribbean Americans who have added so much to our American fabric.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2021 as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. I encourage all Americans to join in celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Caribbean Americans with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty‑one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
History of Caribbean-American Heritage Month
One of our core missions is to recognize and annually celebrate National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, June of every year; in doing so, we work to bring awareness to the contributions made to our society and culture by peoples of Caribbean heritage and highlighting the contribution made my Caribbean immigrants to the United States and Texas. History of Caribbean-American Heritage Month.