The Jamaican Diaspora in the Northeastern region of the United States has announced multiple events to celebrate Jamaica’s 61st anniversary of independence. These events have been organized under the auspices of the Embassy of Jamaica, the Consulate of New York, honorary consuls, and Diaspora organizations. Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, was enthusiastic about the celebrations and emphasized Jamaica’s spirit of resilience, which is captured in its slogan, “We likkle but we tallawah.” Although the nation’s history comprises only 61 years, the anniversary highlights Jamaica’s endurance as a country and its impact on the world. Marks added that the Embassy and its partners were looking forward to facilitating the events and that she hopes all Jamaicans in the Diaspora will continue the tradition of sharing Jamaica’s spirit by embracing the 2023 anniversary theme of “Jamaica Proud and Strong.”
Northeastern USA Jamaican Diaspora Calendar of 61st Anniversary Events
New York – Anniversary Ball
The series of events marking the anniversary began on Friday, July 28, 2023, with an anniversary ball hosted by the Rochester New York Jamaica Organization.
New Jersey – Flag Raising Ceremony
In New Jersey, the Jamaica Organization of New Jersey will raise the flag at the East Orange City Hall on July 28, with the participation of Mayor Ted Green
Maryland – Service of Thanksgiving
On Sunday, July 30, the Embassy of Jamaica will host a Service of Thanksgiving at the Sligo Seventh Day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland at 11 am. A welcoming address will be given by Her Excellency Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, who will also deliver a message from Jamaica’s Prime Minister. Several dignitaries will attend the service, including Maryland Governor Wes Moore, whose parents are from Jamaica; diplomats; other elected officials; and representatives of international organizations. The sermon will be given by Reverend Astor Carlyle from Webster Memorial United Church, and Dr. Bertram L. Melbourne, Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity, will be the moderator.
Philadelphia – Flag Raising Ceremony
Jamaicans in Philadelphia will participate in a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate “Jamaica 61” on Thursday, August 4, at City Hall, at 10:30 am. The ceremony will be led by Jamaica’s Honorary Consul in Philadelphia, Christopher Chaplin.
New York – Independence Day Service
Independence Day, Sunday, August 6, will be marked by a church service at the New Life Tabernacle in Brooklyn. Bishop Michael Mitchell, Senior Pastor of New Life, will deliver the sermon. The welcome address will be made by Alison Wilson, Jamaica’s Consul General in New York.
Atlanta – Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards
In Atlanta, Georgia, Independence activities will begin with the Atlanta Jamaica Association hosting its annual Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel. Ambassador Audrey Marks will be a special guest, while Dr. Clare Nelson, President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Maryland, will be the guest speaker.
Philadelphia – “Jamaica 61” Church Service
The “Jamaican Diaspora Pastors” of the Great State of Pennsylvania will hold a “Jamaica 61” church service at the First African Baptist Church at 6700 Lansdowne Avenue in Philadelphia, beginning at 4 pm.
New Jersey – Thanksgiving Service
On the 13th of August, the New Hope Baptist Church of New Jersey will have a thanksgiving service to celebrate its 25th anniversary as an organization and Jamaica’s 61st year of independence. The service will be held at the New Hope Baptist Church of New Jersey commencing at 4:00 pm. The guest speaker will be Dr. Dwayne Frazer, the pastor of the Montclair Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Atlanta – Annual Fundraising Brunch
The Benevolent Missions of Atlanta will have its annual fundraising brunch at the Mayfair Tower in Atlanta. Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, will deliver the keynote address. The
New York – Grand Independence Gala
A grand Independence Gala will be staged on August 19 at the New York Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. The event will honor seven outstanding Jamaicans, including award-winning actor Sheryl -Lee-Ralph and Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Orville “Shaggy” Burrell.
Maryland – “Jamaica 61 Gala”
The Jamaica Association of Maryland will host the “Jamaica 61 Gala” beginning at 8 pm under the auspices of Her Excellency Ambassador Audrey Marks at Martin’s West Ballroom. Ambassador Marks will give the official welcome and share the Jamaican Prime Minister’s message.
Atlanta – Ecumenical Thanksgiving Church Service
On August 20, at 3 pm, there will be an ecumenical Thanksgiving church service at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, featuring Reverend. Dr. Denzil Holness as preacher and Reverend Dr. Noel Erskine as moderator.
New Jersey – 25th Anniversary and Independence Awards Gala
The Jamaica Organization of New Jersey will stage the 25th Anniversary and Independence Awards Gala at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Newark. Her Excellency Audrey Marks will be the guest speaker. The organization will also honor US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and Comedian Oliver Samuels.
Maryland – “Jamaica Fest”
The celebrations will end on September 17, when the Jamaican Embassy will stage “Jamaica Fest,” a Cultural Showcase designed to Bring Jamaica to the Northeast USA, at Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. The event begins at 12 noon and will highlight Jamaica’s unique culture and music and provide illustrations of the 61st anniversary theme of “Jamaica Proud and Strong.”
Photo – Deposit Photos