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Caribbean Immigrant Making History
CaribWorldNews | May 22, 2009 at 06:08 amby
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Guyana-born, Caribbean migrant, Felicia Persaud is fast carving a place for herself in the Caribbean American history books, taking Caribbean and Caribbean nationals in the U.S. to a place none have gone before.
Persaud’s pioneering Caribbean World News Network has been setting the pace for Caribbean journalism for just under five years as the only daily Diaspora newswire; as has her launch of CaribPR Wire, the Caribbean`s first PR wire.
Both companies are combined under Hard Beat Communications, which has become the go to company for many seeking to target this marketplace of Caribbean nationals, through advertising or PR campaigns. In fact, it is the only minority certified news, PR and Ad agency specializing in the Caribbean marketplace, whether in the U.S. Diaspora or in the Caribbean.
But her crowning glory is her current non-profit campaign to convince the American government that Caribbean nationals count really must count, beginning with the U.S. Census form.
Persaud, since 2008, has been waging a tough and often lonely struggle against the impregnable U.S. Census Bureau to allow Caribbean men, women and families to accurately identify themselves on the Census form.
On April 23rd, after less than a year of writing to numerous Congressmembers and starting a lobbying effort with her own meager resources and the help of a handful of likeminded friends and media colleagues, Persaud was able to convince Congresswoman Yvette Clarke to introduce the historic Caribbean Count bill, H.R. 2071, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Then, going back to the drawing board, she began another letter writing campaign to convince top Senators from her state of New York to introduce a companion version in the U.S. Senate.
On May 19, 2009, her call was answered as both New York Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kristin Gillibrand, introduced the Caribbean Count bill in the senate, to also urge that `in conducting the 2010 decennial census and every decennial census thereafter, the Secretary of Commerce shall include, in any questionnaire distributed or otherwise used for the purpose of determining the total population by states, a checkbox or other similar option by which respondents may indicate Caribbean extraction or descent.`
The same day, legendary African American Congressman Charles Rangel of Harlem fame, signed on to the Clarke bill as a co-sponsor.
Rangel’s support is key as it signals that African Americans do not see the move as divisive as some critics claim, but that it’s one to merely identify the distinct and varied Caribbean ancestry of the viable immigrant bloc, while still allowing for the selection of their race.
The move comes amidst decades of a dismissal of the Caribbean community, because it lacks something as simple as accurate numbers from the Census, to matter politically or economically.
Persaud has literally begun the task of creating power where none seemed to exist. Like a 21st century alchemist making gold from base medals, Persaud has taken her unquenchable spirit, lightning fast intelligence and ferocious will power to start a movement from nothing - the
Many have scoffed at her Don Quixote like goal, both inside and beyond the Caribbean community, thinking they were smarter than Persaud, more connected and labeling her quest hopeless.
Now many of them are among her fast `believers` who now are becoming quickly convinced: `Yes We Can.`
Now on the cusp of Caribbean American Heritage Month in June, Persaud, a young spirited entrepreneur and intuitive leader of mixed ethnicities, is poised to change the status quo and determined to get respect for her community while making her mark in history.