In honor of Women’s History Month, the Consulate General of Jamaica, New York (CGNY) has recognized Caribbean American Congresswoman, Yvette D. Clarke, stating that she is among “some remarkable women, who have demonstrated leadership in advancing our sustainable development agenda, as a people and as a nation.”
“Whilst our efforts will be focused on women in Jamaica and the United States, we use this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to all women across the globe for your continued impact and invaluable contribution,” said the midtown Manhattan-based Consulate in a statement.
For its first feature, the Consulate said it recognized Congresswoman Clarke, who represents New York’s 9th Congressional District, and was born in Brooklyn to Jamaican immigrants.
The Consulate noted that Clarke’s political career began at the New York City Council, where she represented the 40th District in Brooklyn, following in the footsteps of her mother, Dr. Una S. T. Clarke, the first Caribbean-born woman to be elected to New York City Council.
“Since first being elected to the US House of Representatives in 2007, Congresswoman Clarke has worked tirelessly to make sure that communities of color and Black women of all ages are not left behind,” the Consulate said.
“Currently, she co-chairs the Congressional Caribbean Caucus, which works to establish links with the Caribbean-American community in the US, and was recently appointed as the chair of the Homeland Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee, under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Homeland Security,” it added.
“The Consulate General applauds Congresswoman Clarke for realizing the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, #internationalwomensday, which is ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,’” it continued.
Clarke told Caribbean Life on Tuesday that she was “truly honored to be recognized by the Jamaican Consulate for Women’s History Month.
“This month is designated to commemorate the international contributions of women to our collective history,” she said. “Many of my predecessors, such as Louise Bennet, Iris Collins, Madame Rose Leon, and, of course, my dear mother, Dr. Una S. Clarke, laid a foundation of excellence that I continue with great pride.
“Women’s contributions to our society can never be understated or taken for granted, and I look forward to the future history makers coming along,” the congresswoman added. “To them, I say: ‘The sky is the limit, show up and know that you are special. The world is waiting for you to change it.’”
Hailing from central Brooklyn, Clarke said she feels “honored” to represent the community that raised her, adding that she is also “the proud daughter of Jamaican immigrants.”
Clarke said she takes her passion for her Caribbean heritage to the US Congress, where she co-chairs the Congressional Caribbean Caucus and works to foster relationships between the United States and the Caribbean Community.
Clarke, who was co-chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee during the 116th Congress, has been a member of the Congressional Black Caucus since elected to Congress in 2007. Today, she chairs its Immigration Task Force.
She said she has dedicated herself to continuing the legacy of excellence established by the late Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman and Caribbean American elected to Congress. Congresswoman Chisholm was the daughter of Barbadian and Guyanese immigrants.
In the 116th Congress, Clarke introduced landmark legislation, which passed in the House of Representatives, the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6).
She said this legislation would give 2.5 million “Dreamers”, temporary protected status, and deferred enforcement departure recipients a “clear citizenship pathway.”
Clarke is a leader in the tech and media policy space as co-chair of the Smart Cities Caucus and co-chair of the Multicultural Media Caucus.
Congresswoman Clarke said she believes smart technology will make communities “more sustainable, resilient and livable,” and that she works hard to ensure communities of color are not left behind while these technological advancements are made.
Clarke formed the Multicultural Media Caucus to address diversity and inclusion issues in the media, telecom and tech industries.
She is one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, which develops programs to support the aspirations of Black women of all ages.
The congresswoman is also the co-chair of the Medicare for All Caucus, where she is fighting for the right to universal health care.
Clarke is a graduate of Oberlin College and was a recipient of the prestigious APPAM/Sloan Fellowship in Public Policy and Policy Analysis.
She received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from the University of Technology, Jamaica, and the honorary doctorate of public policy from the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean.