Brooklyn Residents of Garifuna (and Non-Garifuna) Descent Honored at Brooklyn Celebration of GARIFUNA American Heritage Month In New York On TUESDAY April 7th 2015

 

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Brooklyn, New York — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will host a Reception in Honor of 2015 Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York.

Select Brooklyn Residents of Garifuna (and Non-Garifuna) Descent are expected to be honored at this Second Annual Celebration of Garifuna American Heritage, which will take place on TUESDAY, April 7th 2015 at 6pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

In 2014, Brooklyn Residents of Garifuna Descent who were honored included:

  • Rosita Alvarez – Garifuna Activist, Garifuna Settlement Day Cultural Mass Association at Our Lady of Mercy Church
  • Lucy Blanco – Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble
  • Abelardo Guerrero – Photographer and Filmmaker
  • James Lovell – Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble, Educator, Garifuna Activist
  • Dr. Eulalia Sentino – Garifuna Catholic Spiritual Enrichment Society.

Below is video of the 2014 Brooklyn Garifuna Heritage Celebration.

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Last year’s Celebration also included a performance by The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York. The 2014 Brooklyn Celebration of Garifuna American Heritage was organized and coordinated by Community Board 8 Member Vilma Guity Zuniga and the Garifuna Coalition USA Inc.  Go to the footnote to see photos of this 2014 Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York event, courtesy of Martin Bermudez of Guatemalan Garifuna website, labuga.com.   1

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

At press time, I do not know which Brooklyn Residents of Garifuna Descent will be honored at this year’s 2015 Brooklyn Celebration of Garifuna-American Heritage.

2015 Brooklyn Celebration of Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York will take place on TUESDAY, April 7th 2015.

2015 Brooklyn Celebration of Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York will take place on TUESDAY, April 7th 2015.

2015 Brooklyn Celebration of Garifuna American Heritage

Brooklyn Borough Hall

209 Joralemon Street

Brooklyn, New York 11201

TUESDAY, April 7th 2015  at 6pm

Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5 Train to Borough Hall Subway Stop

Other events are scheduled to take place as Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York winds down, one such event is the invite-only 2015 Abrazo Garifuna Banquet in the Bronx.  That will take place on THURSDAY, April 9th 2015.

About Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York

Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York (March 11th through April 12th) is designed to reflect on and observe the occasion of the Garifuna people (then known as Black Caribs) being kicked out of their ancestral land of St. Vincent Island on March 11th 1797 to their arrival in Central America on April 12th 1797.  The dates reference the period of time where the Garifuna voyage took place between their ancestral land and their new place of residence, where a new life was forced upon them.

According to a press release from the non-profit organization the Garifuna Coalition USA Inc, Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York also,

“celebrates the great contributions of Garífuna-Americans to the fabric of New York City and New York State, and pays tribute to the common culture and bonds of friendship that unite the United States and the Garífuna’s countries of origin (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras Nicaragua and St Vincent and the Grenadines.)”.

The Garifuna Coalition adds, “New York City is home to the largest Garífuna Community outside of Central America!  However, although Garífunas have been migrating here in search of a better life since the 1930s; the community was virtually obscured until the Happy Land Social Club fire on March 25th, 1990.”  Most of the victims of that tragedy were Honduran, many were of Garifuna descent 2.

2015 Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York. (March 11th through April 12th). Logo by Ivan Moreira.

2015 Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York. (March 11th through April 12th). Logo by Ivan Moreira.

Overall, the idea is to pay tribute to the survival and resiliency of the Garifuna people and also highlight the contributions made by Garifunas to the state of New York and the United States of America.  Also, this as well as other activities taking place in New York during Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York are designed to further visibility of the Garifuna ethnic group to the general populace of New York City.  Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York has been celebrated since 2009.

ABOUT The Garifuna People

The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent. From this fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men, 1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.  3

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In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.  Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.  Despite their mainly Spanish surnames, their culture and history are distinct from other Afro-American and Latino ethnic groups and it’s important to keep that in mind.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

2015 Brooklyn Celebration of Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York will take place on TUESDAY, April 7th 2015.

2015 Brooklyn Celebration of Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York will take place on TUESDAY, April 7th 2015.

 

 

Notes:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/garinago/media_set?set=a.10151985408231345.638616344&type=3
  2. Edna Negron, “Club Tragedy an Awakening for Garifuna”, New York Newsday, Sunday, August 18th 1991.
  3. Nancie L Gonzalez, “Sojourners of The Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pgs 21-23

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