By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Nov. 3, 2020: It’s Election Day in the U.S., and Caribbean American celebrities are among many others doing their part to get out the vote.
Haitian-born Hollywood actress, Garcelle Beauvais, said she is “freaking out a little” in an Instagram video post, but urged all who haven’t voted to “please go out and vote.”
“The ball’s in our court. #VOTE,” Guyanese-American actor Sean Patrick Thomas posted on Twitter while Haitian-born singer, Wyclef Jean, added: “Make sure that you do vote and make sure that your vote counts!”
Jamaican American actress, Sheryl Lee Ralph, posted: “THEY are #voting!!! What about you??!?!?!?,” above an image of several White men with Nazi swastikas and confederate flags, while Jamaican roots actress Kerry Washington, who has been campaigning for the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket and did so again in Michigan Monday, told those gathered: “’I’m here today, begging you Michigan to protect my democracy.”
While Caribbean roots rapper, Cardi B, issued a new video on Twitter endorsing Biden and urging all to use their “little one vote” to make a change.
“I’m tired of this bullshit. I’m tired of getting upset every single time I hear this man talk,” Cardi B, whose roots run to Trinidad and the Dominican Republic said. “So let’s go vote…”
In Miramar, FL Mayor, Jamaican-American Wayne M. Messam, believes the Democratic party is more organized in its approach to Caribbean-American voters for the November 3rd election than four years ago.
“I think unlike 2016 you do see a more concerted effort in terms of outreach. There’s more advertising in Caribbean media and they have in my estimation, done a better job of engaging the Caribbean community,” said Messam. “If you listen to the polls, then Biden should win. However, we know that conventional wisdom says that when it comes to counting the Electoral College vote it’s a different story. I think the race is going to be very close.”
Biden has been courting voters in the must-win state since September and has insisted that the Caribbean voting bloc, often dismissed as simply part of the “Black Vote,” is the key to helping Democrats win in Florida and win the White House.
On Oct. 4th, in a visit to Little Haiti, he told Haitian American voters” “Think about this: Wouldn’t it be an irony, the irony of all ironies, if on election eve, it turned out Haitians deliver the coup de grâce in this election? The Haitian community by itself, if the turnout was like it was last time, the Haitian community itself can determine the outcome of this election. I really mean it. Look at the numbers, it’s real.”
Caribbean-American New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is appealing to Caribbean voters to “get rid of Trump” by electing US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his Caribbean American Vice Presidential running mate Kamala Harris.
“Trump’s administration has caused incalculable damage to our communities, and particularly our marginalized communities,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, who is also running for re-election, in an email message to constituents.
Haitian-born author and Miami-based resident, Edwidge Danticat, told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman that Caribbean and all voters need to “be the vote for immigrant families under threat by Trump administration.”
“I hope that they won’t be putting mountains in people’s ways, that they’ll be able to come out and vote, and vote in large numbers, and vote for themselves and vote for their neighbors and really vote for the future,” Danticat said Monday.
While Rovika Rajkishun, the Guyanese-born interim co-executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, wants everyone who has not voted early to vote today.
“We need all who haven’t voted yet to cast our ballots together (today), Tuesday, November 3 – to rebuke not only Donald Trump, but the Lee Zeldins and Elise Stefaniks of the world, who would attack and demean immigrant New Yorkers like me once again,” she wrote in the Gotham Gazette. “We must strip them of the power to use our government against us.”
The once undocumented immigrant turned US citizen added: “On Election Day, we can do more than cast out Donald Trump, we can truly make a statement for how important immigrants are to our great state and country.”
Hundreds of thousands of Caribbean immigrants are among the over 97 million who have already cast early ballots in states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey and New York. And hundreds of thousands more will do so today.
Caribbean-born immigration advocate, Irwine Clare, Sr., O.D., says he will vote today in New York while last night in New Jersey, the Caribbean-born president of Invest Caribbean, Dr. Sheila Newton Moses, ensured she dropped off her ballot in Orange.
Also, in New Jersey, Adelita Deepan, said she also voted by dropping off her ballot.
In New York, many like Guyanese Selwyn Collins and Simone Dutchin Burnett, stood in line for hours to vote early as did Jamaican-born broadcaster, Francine Chin.
But for others like Aruba-born Maurella van der Ree, voting as a New York transplant in Weston, FL, at the Weston Public Library, it took her about 10 minutes while Trinidad and Tobago-born Miami voter, Daniel Smith said he also voted in about 10 minutes as well in Miami. Voting in Lehigh Acres, Florida, Guyanese American, Lorna Tong Antoine, said it took about 15 minutes to perform her civic duty.
The Caribbean-American voting bloc, often dismissed, has now been recognized as the key to helping Democrats win in Florida and win the White House.
Florida has more than 974,000 people of West Indian ancestry. That total includes more than 300,000 Jamaicans and more than 530,000 Haitians, according to census figures. A conservative estimate for the number of Jamaican voters in Florida stands at 91,000, because many may not report Jamaica as their country of origin. Haitian voters are estimated at about 115,000. Across the state, nearly four of every ten immigrant was born in the Caribbean and call areas like Broward County, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Port Saint Lucie, West Palm Beach, Deerfield Beach, Miami Beach, Kissimmee, Fort Myers, Boca Raton and Sarasota, home.
In 2017, approximately 4.4 million Caribbean immigrants resided in the United States, accounting for 10 percent of the nation’s 44.5 million immigrants. Caribbean immigrants are more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens than immigrants overall. In 2017, about 59 percent of Caribbean immigrants were naturalized citizens, compared to 49 percent of the total foreign-born population. Immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago (70 percent) and Jamaica (68 percent) had the highest naturalization rates, while those from the Dominican Republic (52 percent) were the least likely to be naturalized.
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