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THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Mrs. Shirley Shillingford, August 1999
It is with immense pleasure that I welcome everyone to this great event -
Boston’s annual Caribbean American carnival. This celebration promises to be
festive, rich, and inspiring. We take pride in our diversity. Our culture
demonstrates beauty, artistry, steel drums, food, and costumes of many themes in
an array of colors.
Over the last 26 years, the Caribbean community has provided an exceptional
performance by abundantly contributing to Boston’s cultural diversity through
the Caribbean American Carnival. Our goal is to embrace all people, welcome all
cultures, so that we can all learn from each other. Caribbean Americans have
been magnanimous in sharing themselves in Boston.
It is time that the City of Boston acknowledges in a tangible manner, the
significant economic value the Caribbean Carnival brings to it. The City ought
to take a leadership role in first recognizing the substantial contribution
Caribbean people make in Boston, to their home away from home. Who would refute
the contributions of these hardworking, industrious and fun loving people? The
Caribbean Carnival in Boston is open to everyone and therefore is it lucrative
for the City. It is that financial contribution that the City should recompense
by putting resources into the presentation of Carnival and facilitate Carnival’s
continuity as a Boston tourist attraction. Other cities have done so.
Carnival costumes bring out the tourists and residents from far and near and
behind the scenes of the pageantry are the designers and bandleaders of the
costumes. They bring a passion to making the colorful costumes. That Passion is
powerful and we know that nothing was ever achieved without it, and nothing can
take its place: If your passion is great enough you will find the strength to
succeed. So band leaders and costume makers I thank you for your dedication;
continue to put your heart, mind and soul into the smallest thread, as this is
the essence of passion and the secret to successful life. We are here based on
our past efforts.
Let us reflect with pride on how we made our accomplishments in “1998". We
possess, and used determination, perseverance, positive attitude and energy. We
celebrated 25 hears of history which was great. We let our pride, ideas,
determination, and our keen ability to seize new opportunities spread from one
person to another, and throughout an entire organization and the community. But
as we moved forward, we lost one of our guiding lights.
Our members were deeply saddened at the loss of one of our pillars for 25
years - Ivy Ponder. For the first time since the inception of Caribbean
carnival, we will not see him with his staff as Marshal and directing all of us
what we need to do. His loss has certainly left a void not only in the
organization but also in our hearts. As one of the founding members of the
Carnival committee, we must continually thank him for his pioneering spirit.
Many of us know that there is no thanks, and sometimes not even an appreciation
for the countless hours spent with the hope of making carnival a success.
However, pioneers are not afraid of failure, and thinkers who are not afraid of
progress have the courage to live out their dreams. Mr. Ponder lived out one of
“Towards greater unity in the new millennium” is our 1999 theme and it is far
from a dream. Our theme will bring to the community a special and competitive
high-geared cultural extravaganza. This year is very special: we are closing
this century with a lot of momentum, a stronger spirit of teamwork, and a
reaffirmation of our goals and working together.
In conclusion, I must express my most sincere appreciation to the Carnival
committee members and the Advisory board members for their continued support. We
have confirmed that “ Difficulties mastered are opportunities won, and
opportunities multiply as they are seized.” To my two daughters...I thank you
for the special bond we share, and for the confidence and love you so often
express. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for your tolerance and
appreciation for the work that I do in the community. In all my efforts the
words of Robert Kennedy are an inspiration, “those who dare to fail miserably
can achieve greatly”. And I believe that the glory of success is not in never
falling but in rising every time we fall.