Kings County courts celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month

Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez (L) with representatives from the Consul General’s office of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
Roderick Randall

Caribbean culture came alive on June 21 during the hosting of the Third Annual Caribbean Heritage Month in Kings County (Brooklyn) courts.

According to Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix, the Barbadian-born Associate Justice, NYS Appellate Division, Second Department, the event was very successful.

Justice Hinds-Radix said she and Justice Sylvia Ash, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago to Grenadian and Vincentian parents, chaired the proceedings.

“Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, attended and brought greetings,” said Justice Hinds-Radix. “We also had representatives from the Consuls General offices from St. Lucia, Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

“District Leader Olanike Alabi, as well as a representative from NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office, Danielle Jones, were also in attendance,k” she added. “Hazra Ali, the chair of Brooklyn Borough Hall’s Caribbean Heritage Month Committee, who is always extremely supportive of our program and works to ensure that it is a huge success (was also present).”

Justice Hinds-Radix said the committee this year paid tribute to the late William “Bill” Howard, Sr., former president of the Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA).

“Since we launched the First Caribbean Heritage Month Program back in 2017, Mr. Howard was one of our first sponsors,” she said. “When we called upon him, he provided us with anything that we needed.

“It was because of contributions from him, and others like him, that our programs have been so successful,” she added. “It was only right that we pay homage to a person who dedicated his life to the people of the Caribbean Diaspora.”

Justice Hinds-Radix said, this year, “WIADCA took on a larger role in sponsoring our Third Annual Program,” with Victoria Britt and Cecille Ford being “instrumental to our committee in the planning stages.

“This year, we incorporated more cultural aspects from the Caribbean,” Jusrice Hinds-Radix said. “We had Radoes Steel Pan Band play the National Anthem, as well as provide musical commentary throughout the program and reception that followed.

“We had costumed performers, Junior Andrews and his partner, who represented an Obeah man and woman,” the justice added. “Also, we had a pageant queen, Kaiia Phillip, representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

In addition, she said “the great Calypsonian, Archie Miller, and his band performed songs, and his son, Kevin Miller, who is an up and coming poet, recited a poem that he wrote.”

The keynote address was delivered by Barbadian-born Dean Humphrey Crookendale, of the School for Public Affairs and Administration at Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY).

Justice Hinds-Radix said he spoke about his experience migrating from the Caribbean, paying tribute to his mother, as well as to the history and reasons “behind why many Caribbean people came to the United States.”

“A highlight of the food was a cake from Conrad’s Bakery, which displayed our new Caribbean Heritage logo,” Hinds-Radix said.

Besides WIADCA, she said sponsors of the event included The Brooklyn Bar Association; The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association; The Catholic Lawyers; The Cervantes Society; The Guardians Association, NYC; The Judicial Friends Association; and the Tribune Society, Inc.

“We also had food donations from many West Indian restaurants and caterers in and around Brooklyn,” Justice Hinds-Radix said.

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