For Caribbean-Americans, A Cause for Celebration

Alva James-Johnson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), Feb. 16, 2006

The 182,692 Caribbean-Americans living in Palm Beach County may soon have reason to celebrate: Congress wants to turn June into Caribbean American Heritage Month.

A bill proposing the national designation sailed through the Senate on Tuesday, eight months after it was passed by the House. Now all it needs is President Bush’s signature.

The month would recognize the contributions of immigrants not only from Caribbean islands, but from Latin American countries like Colombia and Mexico that are members of the Association of Caribbean States.

In Florida, the group is now 2.8 million strong, with 182,692 living in Palm Beach County, according to the 2000 U.S. census. It accounts for 15 percent of the county’s population.

“The Caribbean is seen as a place of sun, fun and rum, but there has to be a second look at the Caribbean and its contributions,” said Phillip Peters, a Grenadian-American living in Miami. “The best way to do that is by this month.”

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