Caribbean immigrants in the USA are gearing up for what has become one of their biggest and most important celebrations – Caribbean-American Heritage Month, celebrated annually in June.
In June 2005, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution (H. Con. Res. 71), recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States. On February 14, 2006, the resolution was passed in the Senate.
The White House has since issued an annual proclamation recognizing June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month.
Dr. Claire Nelson, founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is credited with having spearheaded the campaign to designate June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. Her goal was to ensure that America is reminded that its greatness lies in its diversity, and to highlight the socioeconomic contributions of immigrants of Caribbean descent in shaping ‘the American dream.’
The Institute of Caribbean Studies has gone a step further by pushing to have the month of June dedicated to acknowledging the influence of Caribbean culture on an international scale. As part of this campaign, the ICS invites Caribbean writers and readers to take part in its annual Literary Festival in celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month. Editor of The Institute of Caribbean Studies, Shanza Lewis explains the aim of the festival and how you can be prt of the event:
As writers, we know how hard it is to get our work recognized, and as authors of work influenced by the Caribbean our niche is that much smaller. This Festival seeks to share and celebrate the work of upcoming Caribbean writers, as well as established ones. It is a platform for us to support each others work and to highlight the influence we have had on other cultures.
We are seeking submissions of literary fiction from anyone who wants to be a part of this celebration. Caribbean writers have a unique voice and ICS would like to highlight the great stories and poetry that reflect those roots. Our theme this year is Climate Change and the Caribbean.
Submissions are due by May 17. Five pieces will be chosen for showcasing on our website and in our literary magazine to be handed out at our book reading in June at the PORTICO Book Store in Washington, D.C. You may submit two poems or one short story to Shanza Lewis, at email address, firstname.lastname@example.org The short story should be no more than 3,000 words, and the poem no more than 500 words each. The author should also include a short bio with their submission.
The pdf of our 2014 Literary Magazine can be downloaded here..
We are also seeking readers for our book reading in June. If you have a book written in the past two years based on the Caribbean or Caribbean characters please send us a description of the book, the sample to be read and a biography of the author to email@example.com. Traditional or self-published works are accepted. Deadline for submissions to the book reading are due by April 20.
We look forward to reading your work.