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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Caribbean Heritage Month

Cultural heritage celebrated across DC 37

By CARMEN CHARLES, President Local 420, and FITZ REID, President Local 768

Our Shared History, Our Shared Future Celebrating Caribbean Culture In Our Communities

Even as our members, including essential workers, continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we rise together to address in earnest longstanding problems that plague our society: racism, police violence and excessive force, the criminal justice system and poverty.

We must work together for solutions to these problems.

Let’s all take a deep breath and remember that together we will get through this unprecedented time and build a better future.

We must also take the time to celebrate our past and our roots.

On behalf of District Council 37’s Caribbean Heritage Committee, President Fitz Reid (my co-chair) and I want to wish all members and their families a happy National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Each June, since 2005, our country acknowledges the many significant ways that Caribbean-Americans have shaped America. It is a time to celebrate the vibrant culture and patriotism of Caribbean-Americans.

Americans with roots in the Caribbean have greatly enriched the very fabric of America by contributing to the arts, culinary, business, journalism, technology, government, religion, the military, sports and the labor movement.

Among the many Americans with Caribbean roots that have helped to shape America are Harry Belafonte, Rihanna, Sidney Poitier, Jose Torres, Roberto Clemente, NYS Speaker Carl Heastie, Representatives Yvette Clarke and Nydia Velazquez, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Equally as important as those shinning stars are the contributions of ordinary, hardworking Caribbean-Americans who quietly work toward making this a better and fairer country. Never have those contributions been so critical than those of our many DC 37 members who represent the epitome of courage and professionalism and have achieved legendary status for their work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Fitz and I, along with the members of the Caribbean Heritage Committee, encourage all DC37 members to join in our celebration of the history, culture, and achievements of Caribbean-Americans.