Brought to you by WHA’s Multicultural Employees and Allies Resource Group.
Established in 2006, Caribbean American Heritage Month (CAHM) is a time to recognize and celebrate the generations of Caribbean people who have contributed to American Society—and to remind all Americans of the greatness inherent in this country’s diversity.
Who Are Caribbean Americans?
Caribbean nations and territories are sometimes referred to as the West Indies. They include 13 independent island countries and 18 dependencies and other territories in the Caribbean Sea—as well as The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes the Central and South American mainland countries of Belize, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana and the Atlantic Island nations of Trinidad and Tobago and Bermuda are included. Human settlements in this area of the world date back to 3600 B.C.!
About 13 million people—or 4% of the U.S. population—have Caribbean ancestry. Caribbean people and Caribbean Americans are multi-ethnic and multi-racial. Ninety percent of Caribbean Americans have come from or can trace their ancestry to Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. Their contributions span all areas of U.S. history and society. Today, notable Caribbean Americans include Vice President Kamala Harris, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, LGBTQ+ activist Sylvia Rivera and author Elizabeth Acevedo—among many others in government, law, medicine, sports and entertainment.
How to Learn More and Celebrate Caribbean American Heritage
- Learn more about the history of Caribbean people in the United States.
- Discover the diversity of Caribbean culture through its cuisine in this five-minute video.
- Check out these nine iconic national dishes and find recipes for other Caribbean staples here.
- Plan your next vacation.
- Try one of Portland’s Caribbean restaurants.
- Visit Caribbean American Heritage Month.