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 About Us 

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), founded in 1993,  is the Architect and Campaign Chair for Commemoration of June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. ICS is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization founded by Dr. Claire A. Nelson.  

The premiere Caribbean American Think/Do Tank, ICS seeks to address development problems facing Caribbean peoples, and to adopt a thorough, systematic and coordinated long-term perspective towards their resolution. 

Since its inception, ICS has been on the forefront of the challenge to bring attention to the issues of critical importance to the Caribbean American community, which is estimated at approximately 10 million. ICS represents an important role in history as the first Caribbean-American community organization in the Washington DC area devoted to the successful inclusion of Caribbean-Americans in US policy making, and the economic development of the Caribbean region.  

National Caribbean American Heritage Month Programming continues to be led by ICS with the support of National Commemorative Committee.

For more information on ICS, visit

  • Set the annual theme for Caribbean American Heritage Month (if any)
  • Sponsor an Annual Festival to celebrate Caribbean American Life and History
  • Publish the Who's Who of Caribbean Americans
  • Host an Annual Caribbean American Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill
  • Support the organization of  Annual White House Commemoration of Caribbean American Heritage Month
  • Co-Sponsor graduate and undergraduate essay contests in various cities
  • Co-Sponsor with partners specialized workshops, institutes, and seminars in accordance with themes selected
  • Co-sponsor with partners key recognition celebrations such as the Tribute to Hollywood and the Arts & Anansi! Festival
  • Operate the Official CAHM Store
  • Chair the National Commemorative Committee


National Commemorative Committee is made up of individuals working on both local as well as subject matter issues.  Members are currently:

Claire A. Nelson, Ph.D.  - Chair

Lorna Shelton-Beck,  Charleston

Jerry Castro, Houston  (Coordinator, Elected Officials)

Sophia Chue, Detroit

Faith Clarke, Tallahasee

Rev. Agorom Dike, Washington DC

Olive Ezell, Hampton Roads

Monica  Foderingham, Atlanta (Advisor, Library Programming)

Marva Herman, Los Angeles  (Coordinator, National Media & Salute to Hollywood & the Arts)

Marilyn Douglas-Jones, Houston

Nyasha Laing, New York (Coodinator, Climate Change Initiatives)

Ronald Lammy, Boston

Maurice Lindsday, Springfield

Courtney McFarlane, Atlanta

Tanya Ragbeer, South Florida

Peter Rene, Houston

Valrie Sanders, Atlanta

Asa Sealy, South Florida

Karlene Silvera, Minneapolis

Roxanne Valies, South Florida (Coordinator, Census & Legislative Forum)


Caribbean American Heritage Month was established out of the need to create and disseminate knowledge about the contributions of Caribbean immigrants to America, and to be, in short, the platform for a dialogue between Caribbean peoples and the American public.  Following the passage of CAHM,  ICS has established the National Caribbean American Heritage Foundation to carry forth the work of its founder, Dr. Claire Nelson.   Through this means, we will continue the legacy of speaking a fundamental truth to the world--that  peoples of the Caribbean are positive contributors to the wellbeing and knowledge capital of the world's goods and services.   


EVENTS 2018 

This is a calendar of events in the DC Metro Area unless otherwise specified:

JUNE 2       A Taste of the Caribbean 

JUNE 3      Special Commemorative Church Service @ Holy Comforter Episcopal

JUNE 8       World Oceans Day. Become a Caribbean SEA FAN and Celebrate World Oceans Day!

JUNE 8-11  18th Annual DC Caribbean Film Festival

JUNE 10     DC Jerk Festival 

JUNE 18     Census 2020 Webinar - registration required

JUNE  19     To be Determined

JUNE 20      Forum on SMART ISLANDS/ SMART NATION at InterAmerican Development Bank

JUNE 21     Caribbean American Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill

JUNE 22     Ignite Caribbean: 30 Under 30 Emerging Leaders Awards  & Forum 

How Are You Caribbean? Take our Poll
 By Birth
 By Mother
 By Father
 By Both Parents
 By GrandMother
 By GrandFather
 By GrandParents
 By Marriage
 By Adoption

Site Mailing List 

National Caribbean American Heritage Foundation
dba/Caribbean American Heritage Month 

1629 K Street NW
Suite 300
Washington DC 20006
Phone: 202.638.0460 or 202.638.0460