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Thread: NY Lawmaker praises Bajans

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    Alliouagana Garveyite soca_souljah's Avatar soca_souljah is offline
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    NY Lawmaker praises Bajans

    Seen Up North NY lawmaker praises Bajans

    Published on: 3/30/08.


    by TONY BEST




    FOR MANY ASPIRING POLITICIANS, representing constituents in the United States Congress evokes images of exciting days with hands on the levers of power.

    After all, being on Capitol Hill means, among other things, helping to fashion national and international economic and social policy.

    But if you are a first term member of the House of Representatives, it means more than invitations to the White House, casting votes in the chamber or making grand speeches.
    You must bring home the bacon to your electoral district while maintaining contact with the voter and letting them touch and hear you.

    That helps to explain why on a recent evening in Manhattan, United States Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, the freshman federal lawmaker from Brooklyn, braved the cold winds and rain that buffeted New York City to attend an annual session of representatives
    of Bajan organisations in the northeast.

    It was a meeting arranged by the Barbados Consulate-General, specifically Consul-General Jessica Odle, Consul David Gibbs, Linda Watson-Lord, community relations officer, and others in the Barbados Government offices.

    For Congresswoman Clarke it was her first group encounter with the Bajan associations in that setting and she took advantage of it to get her messages across.

    One such message was an acknowledgement of the rich achievements of Bajans spread over a period of more than a century.

    "The Barbadian community is one of the oldest Caribbean immigrant communities in the City of New York, indeed in the United States of America. Your exploits in terms of being adventurous and seeking opportunities abroad are well known. It is an acknowledgement of the contributions of Barbadian-Americans in the growth and development of our communities.

    "They have certainly made the difference in how the landscape, politically, is shaped today. Your successes have been a testament
    of where you came from and the bar that has been set for excellence in employment opportunities and home and land ownership."

    Clarke, who was born in New York City of West Indian, specifically Jamaican parents, holds the historic 11th Congressional District, which was was won by Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the US Congress, who died several years ago.

    Clarke's other message was the role of Bajan organisations.

    She said the plethora of Caribbean groups and associations in the United States, including the Bajan alumni groups, social services bodies and professional organisations, have helped to propel West Indians into a position in which they can't be ignored.

    "We have gotten to the point at which we are seen as a force to be reckoned with, a people whose concerns and issues must be addressed in order for the political machinery to move forward in a progressive manner," said the Congresswoman, who is up for re-election for a second two-year term in November.

    She said that was why Barbadians "ought to take pride in the fact that it has been your participation, and by extension the infrastructure that you have established through your various organisations, that have made this all possible."

    At the last count, more than 50 such organisations were on the Consulate-General's list, stretching from New York City and New Jersey to Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Members of these groups perform key functions, including helping to maintain and strengthen the bonds between their birthplace and the demands of their home away from home.

    The work of the groups was recognised by Barbados' Ambassador in Washington, Michael King,and the consul-general.

    Clarke's next message was the importance of generational continuity.

    "We are talking about first, second, third generation Barbadian Americans as I call them," she said. "Oftentimes we feel that way because we come from English-speaking Caribbean countries, after the second generation the Barbadian is gone, when indeed
    that is not the case.

    "The culture and the values where we come from are embedded in each generation that succeeds us."

    "It is ironic," she declared, "that one of the persons I succeeded in the seat I now hold was a Barbadian American, and given her time of ascension, politically, there wasn't that level of consciousness, the diversity within the African experience in America.

    "Here I am now, we have come of age, we are voting as a bloc and we are saying we are a part of the African experience and it is a very unique one."

    After her speech Clarke presented Odle with a Congressional citation that recognised her work during the four years she has been consul-general.

    The Nation Newspaper | Seen Up North NY lawmaker praises Bajans
    Agitate until we create a stable society that benefits all our people.
    Instigate the nation until we remedy the injustices of society.
    Motivate our people to set a meaningful path for coming generations.
    Educate our people to free our minds and develop our consciousness

    Mwongozi Cudjoe (Chedmond Browne)
    Chairman of Free Montserrat United Movement

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    Registered User BAJANFUHLIFE is offline
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    we always behave ourselves in other people country.

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