carib festJune is a month of many celebrations!

It is Black Music Month. It is Caribbean-American Heritage Month. It is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Pride Month. And, Puerto Rican Pride Day is also celebrated across New York City in the month of June!

It’s always interesting to learn how these things get started: Black Music Month began in 1979, when music industry insiders Ken Gamble, Ed Wright and Dyana Williams developed the idea to set aside a month dedicated to celebrating the impact of African American music. President Jimmy Carter held the first Black Music Month reception on June 7, 1979. The commemoration has since grown to epic proportions, with events and festivals held annually throughout the country. Some of our community’s 2015 highlights include a Harlem Arts Alliance art exhibition at the Harlem Hospital Mural Pavilion through June 28th. Read more of the compelling story about how this month got started HERE.

Caribbean-American Heritage Month has been recognized nationally since 2006. In New York, the City’s Comptroller, Scott Stringer, the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Macy’s, Carib News, and the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic are among the various institutions and organizations staging special events that draw attention to the contributions of Caribbean-Americans to the country’s prosperity. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) organized Caribbean Week, NY 2015, from June 1-7, which included a week of festivities celebrating Caribbean people, the Diaspora, its arts, culture and businesses. Here in Harlem, we can look to our own Caribbean Cultural Center for celebration and inspiration this month and beyond; The Schomburg will also host Caribbean Flow Friday on June 19th. Visit  www.caribbeanamericanmonth.org for more information on Caribbean-American Heritage Month and its history.

PrideParadenycgoA month after the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, five hundred peaceful protestors continued the rally; these actions were the impetus for organizing LGBT Pride marches on a much larger scale. Forty-six years later, the New York City LGBT Pride Rally continues to serve, and has grown into the city’s most vibrant, colorful and festive celebration. This year’s Pride Week theme, “Complete the Dream”, draws from the nation’s most recent strides in marriage equality. Harlem Pride Day takes place in Jackie Robinson park on Saturday, June 27th. The free festival includes artists, food, music, entertainment, vendors and more, all day, from noon to 6pm. Visit nycgo.com/pride for a complete listing of Pride Month activities around the city.

The Puerto Rican Day Parade remains one of New York City’s most spirited and well-attended parades; nearly two-million spectators, annually, makes it one of the largest outdoor events in the United States. Launched in 1958, the parade became a national corporation in 1995.  It celebrates Puerto Rican heritage and culture, attracts many celebrities and politicians, and has expanded to include events throughout the city for the entire weekend.  Although, the parade marches along Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th Streets, the mere notion of it keeps East Harlem and Washington Heights hopping for days in advance. In fact, part of the Parade tradition  has included the the 116th Street Festival in East Harlem for the past 30 years. The Festival returned on Saturday, June 13th to reclaim its title as the biggest Latino-themed block party in the country! The Puerto Rican Day Parade takes place Sunday, June 14, 2015.

Celebrate and Enjoy!