Celebrating up north

When individuals, institutions, or societies transition through their stages of life, be it birth, adolescence, maturity or old age. Some of them turn birthdays into moments of celebration. So how should Bajan-New Yorkers celebrate the Independence anniversary of Barbados?

On November 30, 2012, the people of the Caribbean island of Barbados – a society that is older than America – will celebrate 46 years of Independence from England.

As customary, the estimated 25,000 Barbadians (as well wishers) living in the Tri-State, and elsewhere will, over the next few weeks, have the opportunity, if they so wish, to attend activities organised by the office of the Consul General of Barbados, at New York, the Council Of Barbadians Organisations, community organisations, and some churches.

On Saturday November 10, some persons will travel to New Jersey to attend the annual pre-Independence dinner and dance sponsored by the Barbados-American Charitable Organisation of NJ at L’Affaire Fine Catering, Mountainside, NJ.

Next, PAMPALAM’s theatrical comedy presentation, live and direct from Barbados, will unofficially start the New York season of celebration on November 11 at 4 p.m. The performance is scheduled for the auditorium of Wingate High School at 600 Kingston Ave. Brooklyn, New York 11203.

The evening of nostalgia and Bajan humour will be given by a cast of seasoned actors: Merle Niles, Angela Weithers, Paul Puckerin, Brett Linton, Yosene Perryman and Yolanda Capandeguy. This event is coordinated by the Council of Barbadian Organisations and the show will be produced by Merle Niles.

Often viewed as one of the main events of the season is a black tie affair, the annual dinner dance, to be held on Sunday November 25, 2012, from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m., at the elegant Russo on the Bay, Cross Bay Blvd, Howard Beach.

For $125, patrons will be able, to enjoy a cocktail hour and a sumptuous three-course meal, enjoy Mikey, road march king, and dance to the music of the 23-year-old Vision Band, and Batch Productions.

A new feature this year will be a 9 p.m. poetry and jazz Independence presentation by internationally known Adisa AJA Andiswele on November 30 at the Rustic Tavern, 471 Decalb Avenue, Brooklyn.

The other major event scheduled for Sunday December 2, 2012, at 4 p.m., is an ecumenical church service of thanksgiving to take place at the Bedford Central Presbyterian Church at 1200 Dean Street, Brooklyn.

A Gospel Fest, sponsored by Word International Network, is also set for Saturday December 1, 2012 at the Full Gospel Assembly, 131 Sullivan place.

The final official event will be a flag-raising ceremony at the office of Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Martowitz, in downtown Brooklyn.

There are more than 46 reasons why Barbadians and friends of Barbadians should celebrate the island’s Independence. High on that list must be the contribution which Barbadians and their descendents have made to America.

And so, as Barbados celebrates another milestone, let us raise a toast to: Rihanna, the latest sensation in the music arena and fashion; Gwen Ifill, the weekly moderator and managing editor of Washington Week; Eric Holder, the current Attorney General of the United States; Dennis M Walcott, the New York City schools chancellor; the late Grace Agard-Harewood, after whom the Forte Greene Senior Citizens Council Inc., has been renamed; the New York State building on Hanson place which bears the name Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building and Dr. Vincent Harding, theologian, author, civil rights activist, and former speech writer for Dr. Martin Luther King, among others.

Barbados, like other Caribbean islands, can be justly proud of its heritage and raise its flag with pride.

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