by Tarnia Green
Dominican music pioneer, Gordon Henderson was among (8)eight outstanding Caribbean nationals who were honored at the 22nd Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) on Friday, Nov. 20 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Gordon Henderson, who is based in Paris, the first Creole Musician to sign a major French label, and known as the Godfather of Cadence-Lypso received the Trailblazer award at the awards gala in the presence of hundreds of Caribbean -American nationals including representatives of the Rebuild Dominica organization based in Washington.
Henderson dedicated his award to his homeland Dominica and the “Rebuild Dominica” post Tropical Storm Erika recovery efforts.
“You may be aware that Dominica was devastated by a tropical storm whose name we will not forget, Erika. I feel very emotional when I think of Dominica these days because we were struck heavily and my wife and I we live in Paris, so you would imagine after Erika in Dominica, you know what happened in Paris recently. I wish to thank an organization based in Washington DC called “Rebuild Dominica”, for doing everything possible for me to be with you tonight to receive this award,”.
The Caribbean American Heritage Awards began in 1994 as the annual signature fundraising event for the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the US society, promoted Caribbean culture and interests in the United States as well as friends of the Caribbean.
This year’s honorees were recognized for their extraordinary contributions and philanthropic efforts in the Caribbean-American and other communities.
“Each year, ICS is honored to profile and highlight the amazing stories of our Caribbean-American brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. Over the years, we are pleased that CARAH has become the premiere event where Caribbean-Americans’ gather to celebrate and learn about each other,” said ICS President and Founder Dr. Claire Nelson.
“More importantly, CARAH is where the accomplishments of Caribbean-Americans are on display for the wider American community to learn how we are lending our skills to our adopted home.”
The other awardees at Friday’s gala included Barbara Hutchinson for Excellence in Medicine, Lt.Col.Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell, the first female African -American fighter Pilot received the Vanguard Award, Magdalah Racine-Silva, walked away with the outstanding Entrepreneurship Award, Miguel Southwell received the Outstanding Public Service Award, Michael Thompson received the outstanding community service award, Beverly East received the Forerunner award while Jamaican Reggae star Max “Maxi Priest” Elliott received the Luminary Award.
Proceeds of the awards gala go towards supporting ICS projects and programs including Caribbean American Heritage Month, LifeSEED, and youth empowerment and entrepreneurship program.
Since its creation in 1993, the CARAH awards have honored more than 100 Caribbean-Americans.
Past honorees include Susan Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine; Rita Marley, reggae matriarch and philanthropist; musician Jimmy Cliff, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; Earl Graves Sr., publisher of Black Enterprise; Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former ambassador the Honorable Andrew Young.
To learn more about CARAH, visit caribbeanheritageawards.org.