Bronx Borough Prez celebrates Garifuna Heritage – Caribbean Life

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From left, Lou Ramos, Eudy Perez, Luz Soliz, Sara Mumez, Mejia, Cristian Guity and Hon. Rondy Mc Intosh, consul general of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United States of America.

Photo courtesy Jose Avila

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Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson on Thursday joined with the Bronx-based Garifuna Coalition USA in hosting the 16th Annual Garifuna Heritage Month celebration at the historic Bronx County Building’s Rotunda.

José Francisco Ávila, chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Garifuna Coalition USA, told Caribbean Life on Sunday that, during the ceremony, Gibson issued a proclamation proclaiming March 11-April 12 as Garifuna-American Heritage Month.

Ávila said the proclamation was in observance of the 227th anniversary of “the forcible displacement of the Garifuna people by the British from their ancestral homeland of St. Vincent ‘Yurumein,’ (presently known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to Central America in 1797.”

Gibson said that, since 2008, the Bronx has been “proud to celebrate the heritage, culture and tradition of the people of Garifuna descent.

“With a past that reaches back to the early 17th century on the island of St. Vincent, then later in the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, their history has remained intact, and over 100,000 residents now call the Bronx their home,” she said.

“It has been my honor to host Garifuna Heritage Month celebrations since my time in the New York City Council and to now continue the tradition as Bronx Borough President,” Gibson added.

Ávila said that, in 2014, then-Councilmember Gibson was the first to issue a proclamation in recognition of Garifuna-Heritage Month in the City Council.

During the ceremony, Ávila said Gibson honored Lou Ramos; Eudy Perez; Luz Soliz; Sara Nunez-Mejia, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies; Cristian Guity; and Rondy McIntosh, Consul General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the United States America.

The evening included performances by the Wabafu Garifuna Dance Theater and Robert Martinez DJ Stylistics.
SVG Consul General to the United States Rondy McIntosh receives proclamation from Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, second from left, flanked by Jose Avila and the Mistress of Ceremonies.SVG Consul General to the United States Rondy McIntosh receives proclamation from Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, second from left, flanked by Jose Avila and the Mistress of Ceremonies. Photo courtesy St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consulate General/Consul General Rondy McIntosh

McIntosh told Caribbean Life that the event was “a very important commitment to support our Garifuna descendants in their quest to reclaim the real history of the journey of the Garinagu people, who originated from Yurumein (St. Vincent and the Grenadines).”

“The atmosphere was festive, the proud descendants of the Garinagu ancestors were adorned with their cultural wear and accessories, the musicians drummed up the pulsating rhythm of the Garifuna soul-music, and the pride and joy of the attendees connected with my spirit, as I was elated to hear the Garifuna language being spoken and how they embrace their world heritage culture,” he said.

“The Garifuna story must be echoed in the four corners of the earth to highlight the genocidal act meted out to our ancestors in 1797 by the cruel and heartless British colonizers,” the consul general added. “This story must form one of the pillars in our quest for reparatory justice, as we seek to correct this historic wrong.”

To strengthen what he described as “the fractured ties” between the Garinagu ancestors in the Diaspora and the people living in Yurumein (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), McIntosh disclosed that he will be leading a delegation of Garinagu descendants on their annual Garifuna Heritage Right of Passage and Pilgrimage to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to mark the National Heroes Day celebrations and the 227 years of exile from Yurumein at Balliceaux, a rocky, uninhabited island in the St. Vincent Grenadines.

On this pilgrimage, he and his contingent were expected to participate in a ceremony at the Obelisk in Dorsetshire Hill, overlooking capital Kingstown, on Thursday.

On that same day, McIntosh said the delegation will join celebrations in Sandy Bay, Fancy and Greiggs on mainland St. Vincent.

On Friday, the delegation to visit Balliceaux, the baren island, where about 5,000 Garinagu were banished by the British and left to die before about 2200 survivors were loaded on 10 ships and dropped off on Roatan Island, off Honduras.

On Saturday, the delegation was tentatively scheduled to host delegates at a cocktail reception at Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves’ residence in Old Montrose, Kingstown.

“Again, I say the Garifuna story is our story, and we must embrace them with open hearts and hands,” McIntosh said.

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Publish date : 2024-03-14 03:00:00

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Author : theamericannews

Publish date : 2024-06-11 04:43:51

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