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WHEREAS, with firm purpose and determination, Caribbean Americans contribute to the continued success and prosperity of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, conceptualized and successfully established June as Caribbean American Heritage Month; and
WHEREAS, Caribbean influence permeates through many facets of American history, including Alexander Hamilton being born on the Island of Nevis and colonist John Rolfe obtaining and bringing tobacco seeds to Virginia from Trinidad and Tobago; and
WHEREAS, emigration from the Caribbean region to the American Colonies began as early as 1619 with the arrival of indentured workers in Jamestown, Virginia; and
WHEREAS, during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, a significant number of slaves from the Caribbean region were brought to the United States; and
WHEREAS, since 1820, millions of people have emigrated from the Caribbean region to the United States; and
WHEREAS, Caribbean Americans played an indelible role in many social and political movements, including the Civil Rights Movement, and their participation has helped shape American history, culture, and government; and
WHEREAS, distinguished Caribbean Americans continuously attain outstanding achievements in education, sports, music, literature, economics, technology, law enforcement, military, and many other fields; and
WHEREAS, in June 2004, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced a resolution for a proclamation declaring June as Caribbean American Heritage Month; and
WHEREAS, Congresswoman Barbara Lee reintroduced the resolution in 2005, and during the 109th Congress of the United States of America, House Concurrent Resolution 71 was agreed to by the House of Representatives and the Senate; and
WHEREAS, a proclamation has been issued annually by the President of the United States declaring June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month; and
WHEREAS, the Association of Jamaicans in Richmond (AJR) and the Virginia Caribbean Education Exchange Foundation (VCEEF) help to showcase and share the Caribbean American culture in the City of Richmond; and
WHEREAS, Virginia remains committed to a comprehensive effort to support Virginia’s Caribbean American community – including defending voting rights, ensuring that the Commonwealth is welcoming to all people, maintaining a world class public education system, and diversifying our economy to build broad-based prosperity; and
WHEREAS, National Caribbean American Heritage Month is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the history, culture, and essential role of Caribbean Americans in Virginia and across the country;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 2019 as NATIONAL CARIBBEAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.