From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
By Mary Smart (HI)
June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month and has been officially celebrated since 2006 when President George W. Bush signed the proclamation recognizing the contributions to this nation by Caribbean Americans.
According to the Migration Policy Institute there were approximately 4.5 million Caribbean immigrants living in the USA as of 2019. It is reported that about 90 percent of the Caribbean immigrants come from four islands (Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Haiti) of the Caribbean countries with political instability reported as one of the main reasons for immigration. The U.S. Virgin Islands are located approximately 40 miles east of Puerto Rico.
One of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, the first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, was born in Nevis, an island in the Caribbean. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was born to parents from Puerto Rico. Vice President Kamala Harris was born to a Jamaican father. General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State, was born of immigrant Jamaican parents.
The U.S. Department of Defense recognizes that Puerto Ricans were well represented in every major military engagement from World War I forward, especially distinguishing themselves in combat during the Korean War.