Lorna Shelton-Beck was inducted into the Jamaica Diaspora Jamaica Diaspora Southern Region (JADIAS) Hall of Fame along with 12 others on November 13, 2021, at the organization’s inaugural ceremony held at the Signature Grand in Davie, Florida. This is the first time in the history of the Jamaican Diaspora that individuals who live in the southern part of the United States for two decades have actively service the Diaspora for at least ten years through positive contributions to Jamaica and Jamaicans in the Diaspora. The Southern Region includes the 13 states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Lorna Shelton-Beck is the founder of the Charleston Carifest Caribbean Carnival. She first participated in a Carnival in Jamaica in 1971 when she was a student at the College of Arts, Science and Technology, now known as Utech. She also celebrated Carnival at the University of the West Indies, which followed Trinidad’s style of the event.
The Charleston Carifest was established in 2015 as a tribute to Caribbean American Heritage Month, which was instituted in the same year. Shelton-Beck was the driving force behind the Charleston event and chose it as a way to celebrate all the islands in the Caribbean – they all celebrate Carnival – and to share their customs and traditions. In the beginning, Shelton-Beck did it all: found costumes for the parade, Caribbean vendors, and a venue in which to hold the event. In the first year, she managed to organize the celebration by herself without outside financial support. The goal of Charleston Carifest is to educate communities about the contributions of the Caribbean Diaspora and how Caribbean nationals are creating new paths for their lives and for their children. Shelton-Beck believes it is important to preserve and promote the cultures of the islands in the Caribbean and to pass them along to future generations.
Shelton-Beck is also the founder of the nonprofit Healthy Lifestyle Network, which offers a Youth and Adult Healthy Lifestyle Jamboree to teach nutrition to the community of Charleston and a program for infant and basic schools in Port Antonio in Jamaica. The Jamaican program hosts a camp every summer that teaches soccer, reading, nutrition, and agriculture. She also organizes the South Carolina Reggae Jerk and Wine Festival, which celebrates Jamaica Day in the Carolinas.
In 2021, JADIAS, headed by Dr. Rose Marie Adamson-Lewis, will highlight the accomplishments of the inductees as well as the path that led them to a place of excellence and how their actions have impacted the Diaspora community and the world. Proceeds from the ceremony will provide financial aid to several charities.