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June 2022: Caribbean American Heritage Month

WHEREAS, June 2022 marks the 23rd annual National Caribbean American Heritage Month, first recognized in August 1999 by the White House with a Caribbean Community Briefing; and,

WHEREAS, the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) worked with the Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee to galvanize support for a Congressional resolution to formally recognize the annual commemoration from organizations across the country and held events on Capitol Hill promoting the designation in June of 2004; and,

WHEREAS, the resolution was reintroduced and passed the House in June 2005, and the Senate in February 2006, and a proclamation making the resolution official was signed by President George Bush on June 5, 2006; and,

WHEREAS, immigrants from the Caribbean region have been settling in Michigan since the 1800s, with the first families settling in Detroit in the established black neighborhood of the Lower East Side, known as Black Bottom, specifically in the area of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, deemed the West Indian Church, Bethel AME, and St. Cyprian; and,

WHEREAS, in 1925, thirteen leaders of the Black community founded Detroit Memorial Park as a response to the segregation at local cemeteries; and,

WHEREAS, Joseph Gomez from Trinidad, James M. Gregory, a dentist and practicing lawyer from Jamaica, and Vollington Bristol, a funeral parlor owner from Barbados, were the three founders and members of the board of directors of Caribbean origin; and,

WHEREAS, the theme for this year’s commemoration to be “Our Shared History, Our Shared Future” and has encouraged people in all countries to join the global conversation in celebration of inclusivity and diversity;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 2022 as Caribbean American Heritage Month in Michigan.