Caribbean Preservation Alliance: Preserving the Rich Cultural Heritage of the Caribbean
October 30, 2023
1. Tell us about your work and what kind of impact it has on communities.
The Caribbean Preservation Alliance (CPA) is an organisation launching in the Spring of 2024 that seeks to preserve the rich culture and history of the Caribbean. We aim to promote creatives, support organisations/vendors, and build a vibrant international professional across the Caribbean community in these areas. Over 9 million people of Caribbean descent live outside their island of origin according to the United Nations Population Division. We offer programs in three main areas: cultural preservation, community support, and creative promotion.
We strive to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean by documenting and sharing the traditional practices, stories, and histories of Caribbean peoples. With the increasing impact of climate change and fluctuating political agendas, our cultural practices, traditions, and oral histories risk being lost. Our organisation provides culturally and socially relevant programming to combat this effort. We aim to ensure that these cultural practices and traditions are passed down to future generations and continue to thrive in a modern context.
We believe in the power of collaboration and mutual support among Caribbean organisations and vendors. We aim to foster a vibrant international Caribbean community by connecting individuals and organisations across borders and promoting the unique and diverse cultures of the Caribbean. We aim to support businesses, non-profits, and community groups by providing resources, networking opportunities, and other forms of support.
We believe that the cultural heritage of the Caribbean islands should be celebrated and valued globally. We aim to promote the work of creatives – including but not limited to artists, writers, musicians, and performers – within the Caribbean diaspora and beyond. We provide a platform for these individuals to showcase their work and connect with audiences worldwide. The Caribbean Preservation Alliance will serve as a resource for community members to engage with who we are in the full expressions of our being.
2. What is the significance of your logo?
Our logo is an intentional introspection on the core of our organisation. Primary colours were used as the base to represent that we are all interconnected and no matter the origin, we can come together to make any colour (impact) we choose – with the right combination of informed effort. The palm tree was used as a centerpiece to represent one of the most prominent visual cues when folks ponder the Caribbean. The feeling of “home” was also intentional in the logo design, incorporating faces and diverse features seen in the diaspora. Lastly, the element of a mosaic was used to add texture while also conveying the need for all of the moving parts, dynamic ideas, and points of view necessary to make this a helpful community resource.
3. What black activists, abolitionists, artists or change-makers (past or present) inspired you and your work?
Our work is influenced by a long list of Caribbean people whose words, choices, and visibility have been an inspiration.
To name a few: Toussaint Louverture, Maurice Bishop, Richard B. Moore, Bussa, Frederick Douglass, Assata Shakur, Toni Morrisson, Angela Davis, Arthur Ashe, Nina Simone, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Stokely Carmichael, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Maya Angelou, Alison Hinds, Bob Marley, and Robyn Rihanna Fenty. And many more undocumented and unphotographed black liberationists who have paved the way for us to embark on our work today.
4. Why is celebrating the contributions of leading black figures and trailblazers important?
Celebrating the contributions of black pioneers amplifies the reality that we are more than our beginnings. We are the sum of our individual experiences and the experiences of those who have come before us. We have been provided with visibility and awareness for different routes to success by our leaders and trailblazers which allows us to create our own definition of what success should look like. Celebrating our past heroes allows us to continue to build a future from our wildest imagination and recognise hope is one of the few things that is infinite. To have hope for a different outcome, faith in your vision, and the conviction to work towards your dreams daily is a person liberated. A person who has agency in their life is a person uninhibited by context.
5. What is your hope for the future regarding addressing historical injustices for black communities?
Our sincere hope is increased support for research and exploration into historical injustices and their enduring impact on black communities. Many cultural aspects of the Caribbean diaspora have been systematically eliminated over time, reducing their ability to access more sustainable daily living practices. When we begin to codify what has been lost and the generational impact on black communities’ ability to organise safely, we can only envision a future where black communities are supported fully to thrive. There are many methods and routes forward, and we can only do so together. As a collective, we must continue to organise to ensure our countries and cultures survive communal priorities, climate change, and differing political agendas.
You can learn more about and connect with the Caribbean Preservation Alliance on their website: https://caribbeanpreservationalliance.org/ .
“International Migrant Stock 2020, Documentation | Population Division.” United Nations, United Nations, Www.Un.Org/Development/Desa/Pd/Content/International-Migrant-Stock-2020-Documentation. Accessed 30 Oct. 2022.