Tallahassee’s Caribbean Community takes over the Capitol building

Courtesy of Shatanya Clarke

House Representatives invited the Caribbean community in Tallahassee to the Capitol building to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Day on Wednesday.

Hazel Rogers, state representative for district 95, went on to state that she brought the idea to then house member, now a lieutenant, representative Jennifer Carol to have “a little flavor to international week” as they wanted to ensure that the diversity in Tallahassee was well represented.

“This initiative started seven years ago,” Rogers said. “We want to make sure we teach our communities how to lobby.”

This week is recognized as international week where local chambers are addressing things such as economic opportunities and development in the community.

Daphne Campbell, state representative of district 108, stated that the day was combined to celebrate Nigerians as well and as such it was Caribbean and Nigerian day.

Among the crowd were members of FAMU’s Caribbean Students Association. They were contacted to be volunteers at the event.

“This was not my first time experiencing the Caribbean day. I participated last year and the year before however this year was my first time volunteering,” Stated Yaniqua Chambers, President of FAMU’s Caribbean Students Association.

She added that the event has not really changed since the first time she attended. She said that the Caribbean representation is pleasing, but since many people still do not know about the celebration, it should be celebrated on a larger scale.

“It feels great to know that Caribbean people are being represented,” Chambers said. “However they should make it a city wide celebration instead of it being just at the Capitol because many people still are not aware of it.”

Also in attendance at this celebration was Stephen Knight, President of the Caribbean Organization of Tallahassee Inc. He felt proud that the Caribbean culture was being represented on a large scale.

“We have a very rich and vibrant culture and I am proud that our culture is being acknowledged  by Americans because we also like many others have helped to build this country to make it great.”

COTI was formed two years ago to connect the Caribbean community here in Tallahassee. Knight expressed that COTI’s purpose is to build unity among the Caribbean people here in the State’s Capital, whether they are of “Caribbean descent, Caribbean birth or Caribbean interest.”

He expresses that the people, aforementioned, not only perpetuates the culture but also allows the younger generation can have appreciation of the culture and make room for networking.

To end the great day, food was served to the attendees and presenters, catered by local Haitian restaurant Port 509.