Jamerican among recipients of America’s highest honor

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden recognizes Sandra Lindsay as an “Outstanding American by Choice,” a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services program that recognizes citizens who have been naturalized in the East Room of the White House, Friday, July 2, 2021, in Washington. Lindsay is believed to be the first American to be vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial. She works as director of nursing for critical care at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York.
Associated Press/Patrick Semansky

Jamaica-born Sandra Lindsay will receive America’s highest civilian honor this week when President Joe Biden distinguishes “individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.”

The New York-based critical care nurse who exampled courage and bravery when she volunteered to take the first COVID-19 vaccine soon after clinical trials showed it would effectively aid in combating death and suffrage caused by the coronavirus is among 17 the commander in chief believes deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

According to an announcement posted at the White House website President Biden is cognizant that Lindsay “is a prominent advocate for vaccines and mental health for health care workers.”

Named with a diverse group of distinguished citizens who have contributed superlative service to America, Lindsay is the sole Jamaican with posthumous honorees Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war and Purple Heart recipient and Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.

Two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington, former Cong. Gabby Giffords, the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona state legislature and Civil Rights attorney Fred Gray.

The White House brief stated that “was one of the first Black members of the Alabama State legislature since Reconstruction. As an attorney, he represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King, who called him “the chief counsel for the protest movement.”

“These seventeen Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith,” the president said. “They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come.”

Last year, Lindsay received accolades from medical institutions, civic groups, New York agencies and organizations and Jamaican fraternities including the Caribbean Heritage Organization in California. The latter presented her with the Robert Nesta Marley Humanitarian Award.

Throughout the years, the CHO have consistently promoted Caribbean excellence and after hearing the national news issued a press statement echoing the sentiments expressed from the highest level of government.

Following the July 7 White House presentations — which will be attended Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador — Lindsay will return to the west coast to accept The Trailblazer award from the Los Angeles chapter of the Jamaica Cultural Alliance (JCA) at their annual tea party on July 10.

In addition to touting Lindsay’s accomplishments they have also hailed the second Caribbean diasporan who was named for similar adulations and prize. Another female to exalt the region, she is Belizean-American Olympian Simone Biles.

Biles is the all-time, most decorated gymnast in history.

The athlete has amassed 32 Olympic and World championship medals.

In addition to demonstrating amazing feats surpassing all others to display flexibility on the parallel bars and floor exercises Biles “has been an outspoken advocate for athletes’ mental health, children in the foster care system and victims of sexual assault.”


Martinique’s acclaimed filmmaker Euzhan Palcy has done it again. Decades after establishing a reputation for directing “A Dry White Season,” “Sugar Cane Alley” and Disney’s “Ruby Bridges” she has been selected by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences for the 2022 Governor’s Award.

It’s actually an honorary Academy Award or Oscar and most importantly the French Caribbean native is the first of her race and gender to be honored in the director category. Palcy is respected as a humanitarian and maintains the distinction of being the only female to have directed Marlon Brando, a legendary Hollywood Oscar-winning actor and humanitarian.

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