My Caribbean One World Expo: many islands, one spirit
Festival on Boston Greenway celebrates island culture
On Saturday, July 14, Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway was the site of the sixth annual My Caribbean One World Expo, a festival celebrating the culture of the Caribbean and its diaspora. The event was organized by Authentic Caribbean Foundation, a nonprofit that supports Caribbean children impacted by disabilities and HIV/AIDS. Proceeds from this year’s expo went toward Authentic Caribbean Foundation’s learning disability programs.
Music, food and Caribbean vendors selling clothing and arts transported Greenway visitors to a tropical state of mind. If so inspired, visitors had the opportunity to learn about or even book a Caribbean getaway onsite at the Jamaica or Antigua and Barbuda tourist board booths.
FlyGirl Couture, an online boutique celebrating women and fashion, offered everything from boldly colored dashikis to Vizion Productions T-shirts reading “In Woman We Trust.” The whole family was covered, with dresses for the ladies, a menswear rack and Basquiat-style crown tees for the little ones.
To fuel up after shopping, Elmhurst Milked offered a selection of plant-based milk alternatives and R & S Jamaican Restaurant served up classic dishes like curry goat and oxtail. For a little sweetness, Nature’s Bakery gave out samples of their natural fruit and oatmeal bars.
The learning disability program supported by the event facilitates comprehension in children ages 2 to 15 to ensure proper development. Selected schools receive a scholarship grant from the program to create an individual learning plan for a child of the diaspora who needs extra assistance. Authentic Caribbean Foundation also accepted books and school supplies during the expo to ship to hurricane victims.
This element of giving back was essential to Andrew Sharpe, Authentic Caribbean Foundation founder and board chair. In an interview with Boston Carnival Village, Sharpe says, “I have always had a passion for helping people and learning different cultures. My passion was on building a strong diaspora and preserver of our culture.”
Of the many events happening on the Greenway Saturday, the Caribbean expo was where most people seemed to stay put. Sitting in the sun on the grass with a saltfish fritter in one hand and a new piece of artwork in the other, one could easily be transported to the sandy shores of Curacao or Barbados. Many of the businesses onsite at the festival can be patronized and supported year-round here in Boston or online, including the Authentic Caribbean Foundation’s programming to support children of Caribbean descent.