A “Diamond Jubilee” marks a momentous time in a person’s life or in the legacy of an institution it is significant. But in the life of a nation, 60 years may hardly give it any achievable or memorable occasions to celebrate any great accomplishments. So, why is Jamaica, now at 60, consider this milestone as an incalculable moment for the nation, when 60 years is but a brief period for any history maker? Because this nation is a small one, but Jamaicans and Jamaica have impacted the world in all areas of its uniqueness and with the innovative spirit of the people.
Since the last 60 years Jamaicans have shown a continuous demonstration of remarkable contribution to the world. This legacy of high achievers sets the stage for younger Jamaicans to follow, preserve and propel, and the efforts have exceeded expectations and in the realm of nations, Jamaica has defied all the odds.
Now as Jamaica approaches the sixtieth anniversary of the nation, the mood of Jamaicans in the Diaspora is extremely high, the sensation and love for country is overwhelming, culminating this vibe with the vibes of the almost three million Jamaicans in the homeland “feeling the heat.” The Caribbean Life Newspaper took to the streets via road transportation and made telephone calls to Jamaican organizations across America to listen and watch their excitement as they plan for “Jamaica 60” celebration, a Diamond Jubilee.
The activities began on July 28 with the Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks. Her Excellency updated the Diaspora on the activities planned, with an online town hall meeting. “Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks,” followed by the 18th annual Jamaica Diaspora Day of Prayer and Fasting. This brings together Jamaicans in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, for a global prayer and fasting for the nation.
As the Diaspora grasped the significance of “Jamaica 60” activities mounted and has reached millions of Jamaicans around the globe. On July 31, in the state of Maryland Jamaicans there marked the occasion with a church service at Sligo Seventh Day Adventist Church in Takoma Park under the patronage of her Excellency, Audrey Marks. Again, in Maryland, on Aug. 13, the Jamaican Association of Maryland will host the “Jamaica 60” Gala. During this occasion, two distinguished Jamaicans who have exhibited and served extraordinarily to humanity, former Maryland State Senator, Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and Dr. Basil Buchanan, will both be honored at the Gala.
There are and will be massive celebrations across the United States, into late August 2022. Jamaicans in California, Illinois and Seattle are also commemorating the anniversary of “Jamaica 60” through activities sponsored by the Jamaica Consulate offices in these States. On Aug. 14, the Jamaican community in Atlanta, Georgia will have the opportunity to attend an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Church Service at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The Atlanta Jamaica Association will host its annual Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards at the Atlanta Airport Marriot Gateway Hotel, on Aug. 13.
The Jamaicans in Florida will share in the “Jamaica 60” moments on Independence Day, Aug. 6, the Jamaican Consulate General in association with Jamaica United Relief Association (JURA) will host Jamaica’s Diamond Independence Jubilee Gala at Marriott Fort Lauderdale. The Jamaican veteran, entertainer, Dr. Jimmy Cliff, OM, will be honored. Music for this event will be provided by the Inner Circle Band. A Flag Raising Ceremony will take place on Aug. 7, 2022, at Lauderhill Sports Club, Oakland Blvd., in Sunrise. Civic officials of Lauderdale Lakes and Lauderhill City will participate on that day also in a “Jamaica Independence Motorcade.”
In South Florida there are numerous events taking place to mark the “Jamaica 60” anniversary, and Jamaicans can participate in any of these events. Washington DC will experience the “DC Reggae Festival” on Aug. 20 and 21. Renowned artists such as Beres Hammond and the famous Third World Band, Beenie Man and Etana will be some of the entertainers on site for this special event.
On Aug. 5 Jamaicans in the City of Philadelphia will be holding a Flag Raising Ceremony marking “Jamaica 60” and the celebration continues Aug. 14, at Braid, New Life Christian Center when an Ecumenical Church Service will be held also in Pennsylvania. Jamaicans across the state are invited to these events.
In New York City on Independence Day, Aug. 6, 2022, there will be a Flag Raising Ceremony at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall at 9:00 a.m. The Jamaica Progressive League will also be hosting two monumental occasions marking the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence and the 86th anniversary of the Jamaica Progressive League; the organization which was the conduit for Jamaica’s independence and helped paved the way and advocated for Jamaica with Great Britain as Jamaica fought for independence.
York Performing Arts Center, at York College, will have a free family event on Independence Day, Aug.6, with the legendary Jamaican singer JC Lodge and the groomed and skillful cultural folklore group, Braata. This is happening in Queens on Independence Day, Aug.6. The activities continue with an Ecumenical Church Service will take place at the Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene, 971 E227th St., Bronx on Aug. 7 at 4:00 p.m.
In Long Island, NY on Aug. 13 the annual “Peoples’ Ball” will be taking place at the Crest Hallow Country Club, Woodbury, Long Island. The grand official Jamaican Diamond Jubilee Gala will be on August 20th at Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway New York. At this year’s Gala, six Jamaicans who have gone beyond the call of duties in the United States will be acknowledged for their extraordinary services to society; the group of honorees are Monty Alexander, renowned jazz pianist, Basil Anderson, chairman of the Governance & Nominating Committee; Jeffrey Flaks, president and chief executive officer Hartford HealthCare; Dr. Sandra Lindsay, critical-care nurse and director of Patient Care Services, Northwell Health, Long Island; Mark Newman, president and CEO Chemours and Dr. Maurice Wright, chief medical officer of Harlem Hospital and Senior Association Dean at Columbia University.
Proceeds from the Gala will support four charitable causes, in Jamaica and the United Sates. Also happening during the month of August will be story telling sponsored by the Jamaica Progressive League. This event runs from July 27 until Aug. 24, 2022, at the offices of the Jamaica Progressive League on 2230 Light St. in the Bronx. In Rochester, New York, the Rochester Jamaica Organization held its annual independence celebration and scholarship awards event on July 31.
Although Jamaica is a small nation, it has certainly had a global influence and impacted the world tremendously. This makes the nation looks larger than it is and thus the saying, “We likkle, but we talawah” has proven to be what it states.