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City of Rochester Declares June Caribbean-American Heritage Month

Local Caribbean-American leaders joined Councilmember Harris to celebrate the start of Caribbean-American Heritage month

Caribbean Heritage Month became nationally recognized in the U.S. on February 14, 2006, and this is the 17th year it is being celebrated here in Rochester.

Surrounded by the flags of 22 of the Caribbean islands, Rochester City Councilmember LaShay Harris (South District) on June 1, joined Deputy Mayor Patrick Cunningham, County officials, and local Caribbean-American community leaders to officially proclaim June 2023 to be Caribbean-American Heritage Month (CAHM). “Caribbean influences are crucial to the culture of Rochester and the culture of America as a whole,” said Councilmember Harris. “It’s important that we recognize the impact of Caribbean-Americans today, this month, and every day.” Harris presented a City Proclamation on behalf of Mayor Malik Evans and City Council, officially declaring the month of June Caribbean-American Heritage Month in Rochester. “Caribbean-Americans in Rochester and beyond contribute to business, education, art and entertainment. Their names can be found in history books, on the biggest world stages and in the most intimate local settings,” said Councilmember Harris. “Rihanna, Cicely Tyson, W.E.B. Du Bois, WyClef Jean, Usain Bolt, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier all share Caribbean-American heritage, to name a few.” Local Caribbean-American leaders joined Councilmember Harris to celebrate the start of Caribbean-American Heritage month. David Scott of the Monroe County Office of Diversity, Rochester Jamaican Organization President Joel Frater and Rochester West Indian Festival Organization Executive Board Member Cheryl Hayward all stood with Councilmember Harris to underscore the impact of Caribbean-Americans on Rochester. “Like many in our city, I too have connections to the Islands. It is crucial to the health and visibility of all Caribbean-Americans in Rochester that we bring this culture, heritage and community into the spotlight,” Councilmember Harris said. “I look forward to celebrating Caribbean Americans with you all this month and beyond. Big Up, Jamaica!”

Joel Frater, President of the Rochester Jamaican Organization (RJO), and Cheryl Hayward, executive Board Member for the Rochester West Indian Festival Organization (RWIFO) announced upcoming 2023 CAHM events and activities.

The City of Rochester will also be hosting the annual Caribbean-American Heritage Celebration right outside of City Hall (30 Church St.).

Everyone is invited to join in at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 30 for great food, great music, and a great time. Happy Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

For more information on RJO events, visit

For more information on RWIFO, visit


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