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ICS' effort to establish National Caribbean American Heritage Month (NCAHM) began in 1999 with outreach to President Bill Clinton asking for the recognition of August as National Caribbean American Heritage Month.  This resulted in the first White House Caribbean American Community Briefing being held at the Clinton White House in 1999.  Meanwhile, a now-defunct Ad-Hoc Group of Caribbean Americans lead by Doreen Thomspon organized efforts to get June declared Caribbean Heritage Month in Washington DC.  ICS joined forces with the AdHoc group in June 1999, but by 2000, the group dispersed. 

In June 2000, ICS took on the mantle of leadership in Washington DC, changed the name to National Caribbean American Heritage Month, and organized events in June under that banner.  Efforts to engage the White House were fruitless.   In 2001, ICS was joined by TransAfrica Forum and the Caribbean Staff Association of the World Bank to organize events during June, promoting recognition of June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month, and the momentum slowly began to build.  In 2004, the efforts gathered steam, when an Official Campaign for June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month was launched upon the tabling of a Bill in the US Congress by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, with language provided by ICS Founder and President, Dr. Claire Nelson. ICS worked with the Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee to galvanize support for the Bill from organizations across the country and oganized events on Capitol Hill in recognition of June in 2004.  The Bill was reintroduced and passed the House in June, 2005, and the Senate in February, 2006. A Proclamation making the Resolution official was signed by President George Bush on June 5, 2006.   

Actress and Singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, of Jamaican heritage, and basketball great Rick Fox, of Bahamian heritage, were named Official Spokespersons for the National Caribbean American Heritage Month in 2006.


Inaugural activities in June 2006, coordinated by ICS included:

  • National Press Conference with Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, New York

  • National InterFaith Worship Service, Washington DC

  • National Caribbean American Legislative Conference, Washington DC

  • White House Briefing & Reception, Washington DC

  • Congressional Reception, Washington DC

  • Caribbean American Business Council Briefing, Washington DC

  • Arts Festival on Ellis Island, New York City

  • Caribbean American Hollywood Tribute & Reception, Los Angeles

  • Caribbean American Heritage Month Hollywood Tribute & Reception, Los Angeles

  • Caribbean American Heritage Month Mayoral Reception, Miami

  • National Student Leadership Conference, New York

  • Rum Tasting & Book Launch, New York City

ICS also partnered with or provided support to other organizations to conduct events such as:

  • City Hall Breakfast & Reception, Atlanta

  • UniFest Business Expo and Multi-Cultural Festival, Miami

  • Trade Exposition, Orlando

  • City Hall Reception, Oakland

  • Ecumenical Church Service, Philadelphia

  • Church Service & Family Day, Minneapolis

  • Symposium & Reception, Camden

  • Press Conference & Reception, Office of Brooklyn Borough President, Brooklyn

  • Reception & Concert, Office of Queens Borough President, Queens

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