White House Executive To Address Annual Caribbean Gala


CaribPR Wire, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Nov. 11, 2009: Michael Blake, associate director, White House Office on Public Engagement, will be the special guest speaker at the 16th anniversary of the Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) Gala on Friday (November 13) at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Washington D.C.

The Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards will celebrate its 16th anniversary on Friday, November 13 at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C., to celebrate and highlight people from the Caribbean and the gains they have made in the United States.  The annual gala, which is a flagship event of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), celebrates the contributions, legacies and future of those of Caribbean heritage. 

ICS Honorees span the range of sectors from health, to education to housing development and include Earl Graves, CEO and Publisher of Black Enterprise who is of Barbadian heritage, and actress Cicely Tyson, who is of Nevisian heritage.   The Gala has also honored Friends of the Caribbean such as former Congressman Kweisi Mfume, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee.   

This year, ICS will use the GALA as an opportunity to kick into high gear its Count Us Caribbean Campaign, which ICS Founder and President Dr. Claire Nelson leads as Chair of the National Caribbean American Complete Count Committee.

Arnold Jackson, Associate Director for Decennial Census, will attend and bring special remarks about the 2010 Census, encouraging the Caribbean American community partnership`s continued help in promoting 2010 Census participation within their community. `The 2010 Census is a Constitutional responsibility and is vital to growing and building communities. We do not share your answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities – all information are kept confidential,` said Arnold Jackson.  `An accurate census affects how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding are spent each year in local communities, which translates into more jobs, increased human services and a healthier local economy.`

In an effort to maximize the number of participants, the Census is concentrating on hard-to-count audiences and has reached out to several key people in diverse communities to help spread the word about the importance of the Census. 
Dr. Claire Nelson, a Jamaican, was selected as a National Profile Partner of the Census and is developing outreach strategies to target the Caribbean communities. 

`The Caribbean population in America must be represented in full for continued economic and political progress in our community,` said Nelson.  `We must communicate to all Caribbean Americans that participation in the U.S. Census will not adversely affect our communities, but instead will allow them to flourish and be strengthened.  Whether you are immigrant or native born; whether documented or not; whether Barbadian, Haitian, Jamaican, whether African descent of Asian origin, it is important to us and our children that we stand up and be counted.` 

The 16th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala will be held at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel Ninth Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C.  The reception starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m.  For ticket information, log on to www.caribbeanheritageawards.com

About ICS

The Institute of Caribbean Studies is a non-governmental organization working to promote Caribbean American collaboration in policy and development issues. The purpose of the Institute is to provide a forum for the public and private sector, the non-government organization community, scholars and others interested in promoting a dialogue; and assist in the execution of actions that result from that dialogue.

About Dr. Claire A. Nelson

Claire A. Nelson is the founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies. She is also Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum, an organization that engages diverse communities in futures thinking and strategic foresight.   Prior to founding ICS, she was artistic director of the Caribbean Heritage Group, a cultural arts organization.  A  performance artist, storyteller and writer, Nelson has written, choreographed, directed and produced several plays, musicals, and video documentaries on issues related to Black cultural and historical mores and ways.  She received her Ph.D. in Engineering Management from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

About 2010 Census

The 2010 Census is the largest peacetime operation conducted by the federal government and is the basis for the reapportionment of congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The census is also used to help distribute more than $400 billion in federal funding to tribal, state and local governments every year.  For more on the 2010 Census log on to: http://2010.census.gov/news/



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