WASHINGTON, DC, United States (CMC) — United States President Joseph Biden has issued a proclamation declaring June Caribbean-American Heritage Month.
"During Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we celebrate the achievements and dreams of the millions of people of Caribbean origin now living in the United States, while honouring the shared history of joy and perseverance that has united and enriched life across our region for centuries," said Biden on Wednesday, stating that "there is no single Caribbean American identity.
"The mix of cultures, languages and religions alive across the United States and the islands reflects the diversity of spirit that defines the American story," he added. "Meanwhile, our countries are bound by common values and a shared history — overcoming the yoke of colonialism, confronting the original sin of slavery, and charting new opportunities across borders and generations."
Biden said that, since America's founding, Caribbean Americans — from Alexander Hamilton, who was born in Nevis, to Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants — have contributed to the United States in the "most profound ways".
"Today, path breakers like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor continue advancing our work toward a more perfect union," the US president said. "I am especially proud of the extraordinary leaders of Caribbean heritage now serving in my Administration — from Vice-President Kamala Harris to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
"And I take equal pride in the generations of Caribbean Americans who literally built this country — bringing tremendous hope and energy to bear as small business owners, teachers, health-care workers, military service members, union organisers, community leaders, and so much more," he added.
Biden said his Administration is "using all the tools we have to make our nation's broken immigration system as orderly, safe, and humane as possible, sending support to the border while expanding lawful pathways for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans — among others — to come to the United States without taking the dangerous journey to our southern border.
"What we really need is for the Congress to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, farm and essential workers, and temporary status holders, many of whom are from the Caribbean," he said. "I will not quit pressing the Congress to act."
Beyond America's borders, Biden said he is working with America's Caribbean partners to expand opportunity and keep the region safe "so more of our neighbours can build lives at home".
He noted that Washington partnered with the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in November 2022 to launch the Crime Gun Intelligence Unit, disrupting firearms trafficking in the region.
The US president said his Administration would also be working to improve access to development financing and advance clean energy projects across the Caribbean through the United States-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030.
"A central promise of this country is the idea that everyone is created equal and deserves to be treated equally throughout their lives," he said. "It is a cornerstone of our common heritage in this hemisphere, even as we keep striving to finally make that vision real.
"Caribbean-American Heritage Month is a chance to celebrate the rich diversity that covenant has brought us and to renew its promise for future generations of Caribbean Americans and for us all," Biden said. "I encourage all Americans to join in celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Caribbean Americans with appropriate ceremonies and activities."