First Annual Caribbean Summit
Joiner, Lottie L., The Crisis
For the first time in convention history, the NAACP brought together representatives from Caribbean countries to address their concerns and begin a dialogue on the NAACP's role as an advocacy partner.
The Caribbean Summit, part of the NAACP's July gathering in Miami, was moderated by radio and television host Kojo Nnamdi, a native of Guyana, South America. The summit included representatives from Caricom, Belize, Barbados, Jamaica, Haiti, St. Lucia and Trinidad/Tobago. They gathered to discuss such issues as the U.S. trade policy with Caribbean countries, immigration, American military assistance and the relationship between American Blacks and those from the Caribbean.
President and CEO Kweisi Mfume said the NAACP will work to ensure equitable treatment of those from the Caribbean.
"The NAACP believes the time has come for this organization to assume the leadership role in terms of making sure there is a real position in defense of fair policies toward the Caribbean," Mfume said. "We hope that today people and the leaders of the Caribbean will look at the NAACP as its advocacy partner in the United States and as an agent for change in a fair and just policy."
Hundreds attended the summit, as participants discussed a variety of topics, including racial profiling and deportation issues, as well as Caribbean nationals registering to vote once they become U.S. citizens.
"It is clear that Caribbean people and African Americans share many similar experiences and have much to learn from each other," said Ben Martinez, consul general for Barbados. "We are natural allies for you."
Stephanie Sylvestre, consul general of Belize, described being a Caribbean national in America as "double jeopardy," referring to how nationals are often targeted because they are both Black and foreign. She urged the audience to think about ways to help Caribbean people.
"How can the NAACP help? How can you as individuals help?" Sylvestre asked the audience. "What we need to do is start thinking about what is our main goal in life. Is it profit or is it human betterment?"
Kent Hippolyte, consul general of St. …