Side-by-side screengrabs of the United States’ first Black Caribbean-American Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Invest Caribbean CEO and Caribbean American advocate Felicia J. Persaud (r.), during remarks at the Global Caribbean American inauguration celebration Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 (301040)
Credit: ICN/CAAN image

On Sunday night U.S. Vice President-elect Elect Kamala Harris delivered a special message to thousands of Caribbean Americans, gathered virtually globally, at a star-studded virtual Caribbean inauguration celebration in her honor, conceptualized and executed by Caribbean American entrepreneur and advocate, Felicia J. Persaud, and presented by Invest Caribbean and the Caribbean American Action Network, (CAAN).

“Thank you for the efforts that so many of you have made throughout the course of the campaign to get us to this moment…You did the work. You helped lay the groundwork for this historic occasion,” VP-elect Harris said. “Now, because of you and so many others, our country is on a path to heal and rebuild.”

She also recognized the contributions of Caribbean Americans to the United States, which she said are woven “throughout the fabric of our country.”

“Those contributions are reflected in the lives of so many Americans with Caribbean roots, from Eric Holder and Colin Powell to Shirley Chisholm,” said the VP-elect, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. “And I’m proud to be with you, as a vice-president elect with roots in the Caribbean.”

VP-elect Harris also added, “President-elect Joe Biden and I look forward to working with you every step of the way to usher in a brighter future for Caribbean Americans, and all Americans.”

In opening remarks, Persaud delivered a fiery challenge to the VP-elect and the incoming administration, while like Harris, also recognizing the fact that Caribbean immigrant voters helped deliver the historic win for the Biden-Harris ticket.

“We’re here tonight to hope that the election of Kamala Harris as the US’ first Black Caribbean American vice-president makes it possible for the Caribbean region to take its rightful place as a strong partner with these United States,” said Persaud. “We are here to resolve tonight that Caribbean immigrants in these United States will no longer be taken for granted; will no longer be ignored and left behind; will no longer have our votes taken and then dismissed like we are nothing.”

And she issued a special challenge to the VP-elect, stating: “Our challenge to you dear vice president-elect is that you become a fighter for the Caribbean. That you use your Caribbean ancestry and your Caribbean heritage to make a mark in history, and not simply be just another U.S. vice president.”