LOS ANGELES, USA -- Members of the Garifuna-American and immigrant community in the United States are preparing for the month long celebration known as National Garifuna Settlement, Education and Awareness Month from November 12 to December 12.
Garifuna Settlement is the celebration of the arrival of the Garifuna to Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua in November starting in 1802 after the exile arrival to Honduras on April 12, 1797.
Garifuna Settlement celebrations began in the city of Los Angeles in the 1960s making the cultural celebration the oldest Garifuna cultural and identity celebration in the United States. States like Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Virginia, California and New York have proclaimed Garifuna Settlement by their local mayors and governors. States like Nevada, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida and Indiana are being organized to proclaim Garifuna Settlement.
Founded by the legendary community organizer and teacher, Thomas Vincent Ramos, Garifuna Settlement was made a holiday in Belize in 1942.
In 1991, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins became the first elected American executive official to proclaim Garifuna Settlement in the United States.
In 2010, United States House of Representatives from Texas, Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green, both issued “Certificates of Congressional Recognition” to honor the contributions of Garifuna-Americans and Immigrant communities to the progress and development of the United States in education, business, law enforcement, healthcare and family.
In his letter to the Garifuna-American community celebration in 2012, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez praised the community for their contributions to the nation.
“This is the time to honor the history and contributions,” wrote Gutierrez, “of this unique immigrant community”.
The city of Los Angeles will host proclamation ceremony on Saturday November 15 and the city of Chicago on Saturday November 22.