By | Ke’Neesha Weaver
The 10th year Anniversary of Caribbean Day at the State Capitol took place Tuesday hosted by Senator Daphne Campbell. Sen. Campbell continues to uphold this tradition in aims to maintain the legacy that was established by former State Legislator Hazelle P. Rogers, honoring the many contributions of Caribbean-Americans.
For the past ten years, members of the Florida Legislature have hosted people from the Caribbean and people of Caribbean descent at the capitol to celebrate the unique contributions that the Caribbean community has made to the state of Florida. Caribbean Week is a statewide celebration in honor of Florida’s strong ties to Caribbean history, community and culture.
Tuesday, the House Representatives invited the Caribbean residents from Tallahassee all the way to North Miami Beach to the Capitol building to celebrate Caribbean Day at the Capitol. A bus left from North Miami Beach that drove up to Tallahassee for those who wanted to join the festivities taking place from January 30th through February 2nd.
Among the people who traveled to Tallahassee by bus were members of FAMU’s Caribbean Students Association (CSA) as well as non-affiliated students. Some students felt that Caribbean Day at the Capitol was a good idea to help spread awareness about the Caribbean culture outside of the main islands that people talk about and vacation at.
“I really like this event, especially since they host it every year! It’s a good idea and fun event that helps spread awareness to others about my culture,” said Kiannah Laurent, a senior nursing student and member of CSA.
Laurent comes from a Guyanese background and feels that not many people know about the island of Guyana. Likewise, having an event that helped spread awareness about it made her very happy. Unlike Laurent, there were other students with a Caribbean background who were opposed to the celebratory events.
“I’m against Caribbean Day at the Capitol because its seems like a political stunt in my eyes,” said Peetra Samuels, a junior criminal justice student. Samuels was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to the states in 2008. She feels that events are just a way to make it seem like they care about people of Caribbean descent, but are still looked upon as immigrants.
“In the eyes of politicians they see tax dollars and they feel that anyone who was not born in America just works under the table and doesn’t pay taxes, when in reality we work just as hard as those born in America. So I would never support Caribbean Day at the Capitol,” Samuels finished.
Not many people were aware of the event hosted taking place on Tuesday, people like LaPorsha Andrews felt that it should have been broadcasted on a larger scale. Andrews has been a resident of Tallahassee for the past 13 years and said that the Caribbean representation is a remarkable one. However, since few people knew about the celebration she thinks it should be better publicized within the community
“I love the fact that Caribbean people are being represented on our own day, however they should make it a city wide celebration with flyers and news releases because many people still are not aware of it,” said Andrews.
Although the turnout wasn’t quite what some would hope for, there are still opportunities for students and community members to take part in events throughout the week.
For those interested in participating for more infomration visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/caribbean-day-at-the-capitol-tickets-41911460306