RICHMOND HILL, NY – With a shortage of education on Indo-Caribbean history in NYC public schools, Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Inc. (ICA) launched a pilot education program at their Richmond Hill office on Saturday, February 24th.
Titled “Indo-Caribbean 101,” the program is an introductory course of Indo-Caribbean history, identity, and culture, as well as a reminder of the 101 years since the end of Indian Indenture. In attendance of the community program was a focus group of almost 50 participants: educators, community leaders, and Indo-Caribbean and non Indo-Caribbean residents.
“We put out a call for a Community Think Tank, and the community responded,” said Suzanne Mahadeo, Director of ICA. “Indo-Caribbeans (and Non-Indo-Caribbeans) came from Suffolk County to New Jersey as well as from the five boroughs to participate, brainstorm, and get involved in this process of uniting, building and sharing Indo-Caribbean identity together.”
“Did you know Guyanese are the second largest immigrant group in Queens and the 5th largest in New York City? Our public education system needs to be updated with greater diversity and inclusive of Indo-Caribbean history,” said Richard David, co-founder of ICA, and a guest instructor for the Indo-Caribbean 101 program. “Until then, we’ll take it upon ourselves to bring our communities together by sharing our history and learning about different cultures.”
Dr. Anita Baksh, a Professor at CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College, said, “It’s important to have this history more accessible; it is not taught in formal education.” Dr. Baksh has been instrumental to ICA’s launch of the Indo-Caribbean Special Collection at the Lefferts Library, which houses 500 books from authors of Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname and beyond. She also contributed to the Indo-Caribbean 101 program.
“It’s crucial for non-Indo-Caribbeans to understand this heritage, since Indo-Caribbean American communities have been established in New York City since the 1970s.”
“If there are any organizations who want to partner to bring this presentation to their company, group, or meetings, please reach out to ICA,” said Suzanne Mahadeo. “We’re excited to take this program across the five boroughs.”
ICA also shared information about the immigration services provided in partnership with the NYS Liberty Defense Fund, including assistance with citizenship, DACA renewal and to Know Your Rights, with regards to immigration.