Teaching Indo-Caribbean History

(Photo courtesy of Richard David via QNS)

York College in Jamaica, Queens, on Jan. 26 inaugurates a new course, Indo-Caribbean History, that will explore the “social, political and economic factors that led to the rise of a distinct Indo-Caribbean identity in Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname and the U.S.,” reports Alejandra Domenech-O’Connell in QNS.

The course will be taught by Guyanese-born Richard David, district leader in Assembly District 31, who co-founded the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, an advocacy, service and cultural organization for this community in NYC.

According to the 2018 MOIA report, Guyanese are the fifth largest immigrant group in New York City and are the second largest in Queens.

York College has one of the highest Asian student enrollment rates among CUNY colleges which includes many Indo-Caribbean students. According to a press release from David, in 2015 Asian students were the second highest ethnic group among the freshman class after African Americans.

But although the Indo-Caribbean community comprises such a large part of the City, community leaders have had to fight hard to gain visibility. According to vice-chair of ICA, Artee Perumal, the alliance was started just for this reason 10 years ago. The course has [been] promoted on ICA’s Facebook page as something that was “five years in the making.”

“We want students to feel a sense of pride in their culture and history,” said Perumal, who worries about 2nd and 3rd generation Indo-Caribbean young people not being able to connect with their heritage.

“I would have loved to take an elective like this.”

Go to QNS to read what the chair of York’s history department had to say about the new offering.

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