“Garifuna American Heritage Month promotes greater knowledge of and respect for the heritage, culture, and contribution of people of Garifuna descent to the development of societies, “ Gibson added.
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“Each year since 2008, the Garifuna in New York has been observed from March 11 to April 12 as Garifuna-American Heritage Month, in observance of the 226 Anniversary of the Forcible Transfer of the Garifuna People by the British from their Ancestral Homeland St. Vincent “Yurumein”, (presently known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to Central America in 1797,” she noted.
According to Gibson, New York City is home to the biggest Garifuna community outside of Central America, with an estimated 250,000 residents. More than half of this population resides in the Bronx, making it the largest Garifuna community outside of Central America.
“Although the Garifuna have been migrating here in search of a better life since the 1930s, the Garifunas/Black Caribs are a culturally differentiated Afro-indigenous/Afro-Latinx people, a mixture between Kalinago and Arawak women, and African men, who were the true reflection of a dynamic symbol of resistance to colonization, brave and courageous people who successfully resisted slavery,” she noted.
Ilbert Julius Sanchez, menswear designer: Ilbert Julius Sanchez is a Garifuna designer of menswear and a co-founder of Garçon Couture, a menswear brand that focuses on developing personalized designs that allow you to connect with your inner gentleman.
The eldest of three children, Sanchez was reared in the South Bronx after being born in Honduras.
He created a streetwear company of T-shirts, sweaters, and caps after graduating and beginning a career as a UX/UI designer.
Mirna Martinez Santiago – Founder of Girls Rule: She is the organization’s founder. a group with the mission of building a pipeline for underrepresented and disadvantaged people into the legal, legislative, and judicial areas, with a concentration on middle and high school girls.
Martinez Santiago is a Garifuna woman with more than 25 years of legal expertise. She has published on both legal and non-legal themes and gives talks on a variety of topics with an emphasis on diversity, inclusiveness, and eliminating bias.
Her mother’s decision to obtain her GED, followed by an associate degree and then a four-year degree that culminated in Mirna’s Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD), a graduate-entry professional degree in law, caused her oldest sister to become the first member of the family to do so. Her family had fled the poverty of Honduras but appeared stuck in the projects.
According to Martinez Santiago, “Education allowed the family social mobility from blue-collar to white-collar, and to move out of public housing, into a private home.” She also stated that her family is, “living proof of the American Dream, the ideal that every citizen of the United States should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.”
Cosmetologist and company founder Lizeth Arzu-Cacho: She is a trailblazing Garifuna woman entrepreneur and the Founder, CEO, and Cosmetologist of Mirtha’s Beauty Salon, Inc.
On July 10, 2011, she staged the grand opening of Mirtha’s Beauty Salon, Inc. in the Borough of The Bronx, which has been running continuously for the previous twelve years, is legally permitted to do business in New York State, and is owned, operated, and controlled entirely by a Garifuna woman. Even though the coronavirus epidemic caused severe economic hardship, it managed to endure.
“Lizeth is a Garifuna immigrant who achieved the American Dream by transitioning from a home health care job to become a member of the immigrants who now start more than a quarter of new businesses in this country,” Gibson noted.