The recent ICABA (Identify Connect Activate the Black Accomplished) Black Tie reception and award ceremony saluting top movers and shakers from South Florida’s Caribbean American community resembled all the glamour and glitz of a Hollywood movie premier, right down to the customary red carpet. Aside from the entertainment high society aspects evident throughout the evening, the most important facet of the event was to highlight a unique aspect of South Florida’s cultural diversity, which has increasingly become part of its socio-economic fabric in recent years.
The first time event took place at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in the Amaturo Theater located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, last Friday evening on June 29th. The event was appropriately titled ICABA Salutes South Florida’s 100 Most Accomplished Caribbean Americans, showcasing individuals from among a plethora of professional fields of endeavor. ICABA honorees representing 14 Caribbean nations participated in the award ceremony.
“As our nation’s gateway to the Caribbean, South Florida has long-been a cultivator of successful migrants and talented natives,” said Jerome Hutchinson, Jr., president & CEO of ICABA Media Holdings. “The contribution Caribbean-Americans have made to our region is extraordinary, and I am thrilled that ICABA will be the first entity to celebrate their excellence in such a unified way.”
The signature ICABA coffee table book showcasing their diverse accomplishments was unveiled at the event and included the honorees’ bios, features and advertorials from a noted list of corporate sponsors.
“The ICABA Honors continues to give me a platform to dialogue about the needs of our community, particularly families who reside in economically challenged areas of Broward County. I am very proud of my Caribbean heritage and I know that it has allowed me to be a bridge in our community as I serve as the leader for the Urban League of Broward County and represent Broward on the state and national stage,” said honoree Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh.
“Broward is an extremely diverse community and we must embrace the opportunities and mitigate the challenges that come with greater levels of diversity. The cultural engagement and exchange of the diverse Caribbean community in South Florida is one of the main reasons why I choose to live and raise my family in Broward County,” Smith-Baugh added.
ICABA identified the 100 honorees through public nominations, recommendations from the steering and host committee and editorial research. A distinguished list of 40 well-known South Florida business and civic leaders with Caribbean heritage signed on to support the initial effort, including Miami-Dade County Chair Miguel Southwell, deputy director at Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Broward County Chair Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh, president of the Urban League of Broward County, and Palm Beach County Chair Carlton “Ricky” Wade, a McDonald’s franchisee. Marlon Hill, Esq., managing partner at delancyhill, P.A., wrote the foreword for the publication.
“The Caribbean-American community is an important demographic,” shared Hill. “Our culinary, musical and religious traditions are undeniably present in every aspect of life in South Florida. It is timely that we share our community’s accomplishments and celebrate their entrepreneurial spirit.”
The salute also included official recognition presentations from the White House, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings, U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, and Miami-Dade and Broward County mayors. The list of honorees spans multiple professional categories including health care, law, media and spiritual leaders. Notables include Pauline Grant, CEO at North Broward Medical Center (Jamaica), Dr. Rudolph Moise, medical director at Comprehensive Health Center, LLC (Haiti), Yolanda Cash Jackson, share-holder at Becker & Poliakoff (Bahamas), Joseph Bernadel (Ret. Major, U.S. Army), founder of Toussaint L’Ouverture High School (Haiti), Garth Reeves, publisher emeritus of The Miami Times (Bahamas), and Bishop Henry Fernandez, founder and senior pastor of The Faith Center (Jamaica). There will also be sections featuring South Florida’s elected officials from federal, state and county governments and local Caribbean consuls general.
ICABA honoree Georgia Robinson Esq. has been practicing law in South Florida for the past 12 years. She practices elder law and is a mediator specialist. Robinson represents a substantially growing number of Caribbean-American professionals who are having a dramatic impact on the socio-economic landscape of South Florida in recent years.
“While I am thankful to be among those honored as South Florida’s 100 Most Accomplished Caribbean Americans, the honor belongs to all people of African Descent and in particular to Jerome Hutchinson, Jr., President of ICABA, for his vision to identify, activate and connect people of African descent all over the world. My congratulations to my fellow honorees, they continue to inspire all of us. It truly demonstrates that you cannot give without getting back in return.”
ICABA Media Holdings, LLC: ICABA Media Holdings, LLC is a South-Florida-based affinity marketing and media company. ICABA profiles accomplished Black professionals and entrepreneurs in its publications and connects them through its social network – icabaworld.com, and at its signature events.
“This was a special and historic salute!” said Antonia Williams-Gary, ICABA South Florida publisher. “On the heels of our successful ICABA Honors South Florida’s Most Accomplished Black Executives, Professionals and Academicians last fall, we are solidifying our role as identifiers of achievement, and I hope we’ll all unite in recognizing these outstanding leaders.”