June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Caribbean-American identity. Since the United States’ founding, Caribbean Americans have enriched our country, sharing history, art, music, and more.
Rose Anderson is the Career and College Readiness Coordinator at Pace Broward. Her Caribbean-British heritage is incorporated and celebrated throughout her entire department at Pace.
She shared, “I celebrate my heritage every day I get a chance to breathe. I love and celebrate the fact that I come from a culture that exudes various genres of music, artforms, clothing, food and deep-rooted history. My parents are my heroes and my inspiration and have made me into the person I am today. I listen intently and connect to their stories, proverbs and ancestral anecdotes that continue to inspire me to be true to my legacy and I unashamedly celebrate that I am a Jamaican-British-American human being.”
For Pace Leon Associate Executive Director, Kristel Avilus, educating others about her Jamaican culture goes hand in hand with celebrating her heritage. From language to food to art, Kristel is proud to center her Jamaican identity at work. Kristel says: “I announce my Jamaican heritage by having Jamaican crafts, collectibles, books, and crafts, utilizing them in conversations with coworkers, donors, community partners and girls.” These physical objects are a powerful reminder of her pride in her identity.
Carley Vasquez, a counselor at Pace Leon, reflects: “I am intentional about celebrating my Puerto Rican and Colombian culture through food and music. Some of my favorite foods to enjoy are arepas con queso and pandebono.” At Pace Leon, girls and staff celebrated Caribbean-American Heritage Month through a catered lunch from a Haitian restaurant, Port 509.
Carley enjoys listening to Bad Bunny and Kali Uchis, Puerto Rican and Colombian artists, and Kristel listens to reggae and calypso music.
For Tina Swaby, a math teacher at Pace Broward, music is all about the community. Tina enjoys attending music and food festivals year-round, noting: “It is always an awesome experience to come together as a people from different countries and backgrounds to celebrate our oneness as Caribbean-Americans as well as offer the same experience to first timers!”
Pace serves thousands of girls from different cultural heritages across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. We are proud to create a safe and inclusive environment that recognizes and celebrates girls and team members for their rich heritages.