June is Caribbean American Heritage Month and, as part of the White House’s official proclamation, several high-ranking officials within the executive branch are being honored for their Caribbean heritage, not the least of which is our own Vice President Kamala Harris. In all honesty, despite my own Caribbean heritage, I wasn’t aware of this distinction until I curated a diversity calendar, which you can download here if you haven’t done so already.
Just what makes a person Caribbean anyway? Is it geography? Culture? Dialect? If you aren’t sure, neither are many people who themselves would be considered Caribbean American. If the term “West Indies” seems outdated (and it should), it is interesting to see how the islands, as well as the major land masses surrounding the Caribbean Sea, have been grouped together to define “The Caribbean”.
For example, my parents are from Guyana, a South American country culturally connected to, and considered a part of, the Caribbean region. They then moved to England, where I was born, before settling in New York where I spent my teenage years. As such, I find myself to be not only a Caribbean American but an interesting mix of several cultures.
To honor all those who identify as Caribbean American, whether in part or in whole, this week’s Simply Good highlights Caribbean folk tales through the storytelling stylings of my cousin, Wendy Shearer. She discusses her recently-published book, Caribbean Folk Tales: Stories from the Islands and from the Windrush Generation, and the impact these stories still have today.
In the most recent issue of Simply Diversity, I share my thoughts and feelings about Juneteenth, which may surprise you. I also discuss ways to honor the underlying intentions of Juneteenth in practical, truly-impactful ways.
Lastly, I had the chance to co-lead a discussion on ways to bridge the gap between employers and candidates regarding hiring, remote work, and job requirements. Check out What’s Happening for information on this LinkedIn Learning event.
Stacey Gordon, MBA
Rework Work CEO