America’s “City of Brotherly Love” was warmed by the food, music and festive spirit of the Caribbean when a team from the United States Virgin Islands breezed through town this month.
The occasion was the 36th annual National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention and Career Fair which drew thousands of journalists, students, communications specialists, industry educators and media-related professionals over a five-day period.
Fittingly, at the African-American Museum in Philadelphia, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism representatives reminded the large media gathering that the island Territory was part of the United States with an African connection but located in the Caribbean.
The U.S. Virgin Islands joined hands with NABJ’s executive leadership to host the first ever Founders’ Reception which recognized 44 of the early trailblazers who laid the groundwork in 1975 for what has evolved into one of America’s largest and most influential media organizations.
Colorfully-adorned mocko jumbies, or stilt walkers, gyrating to the sounds of live steel pan music, welcomed guests for the reception. Philadelphia residents passing by the museum, including pedestrians, cyclists, taxi drivers, and even members of law enforcement, were pleasantly surprised by the Caribbean music and dazzling costumes.
“We are very thankful to NABJ and the City of Philadelphia for allowing us to showcase the spirit of the U.S. Virgin Islands to such an important group of discerning professionals,” said Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson. “Philadelphia is an important market for the Territory and we look forward to returning soon to build on some very important linkages with this historic American city.”
In addition to the substantive speeches and a tasty spread of culinary delights, event patrons enjoyed a wide variety of Cruzan rum products from the U.S. Virgin Islands which contributed towards both a refreshing and spirited celebration.