The Jamaica Diaspora Legacy Foundation (JDLF) was formerly formed as a not-for-profit organization in 2012 with the mission of coordinating and implementing plans and logistics, and securing the related funding to secure the establishment of a resource and cultural center to serve Jamaicans residing in the general South Florida region, and to be known as the Jamaica Cultural and Resource Center (JCRC).
Garth .A. Rose | President
Sydney Roberts | Vice President
Cheryl Wynter | Secretary
Effective January 2015, the board of the JDDF includes:
Garth A. Rose
Advisors to the JDLF Board
Franz Hall – Jamaica Consul General to the South-East USA
Maurice Grey – Engineer
Neil Hall – Architect
As Jamaicans in South Florida prepare to celebrate Jamaica’s 53rd anniversary of Independence from the British, some may not even be aware of the significance and potential of this community throughout the entire state of Florida. Since the 1970s, Jamaicans have been migrating to Florida in large numbers, and today the Jamaican American population, including those born in the USA to Jamaican parents, approximates 500,000 with the majority of approximately 350,000 residing in the South Florida region.
However, despite the growth and achievements of this Jamaica community, there is not much empirical evidence of these achievements.
In 2012, as the Jamaican community celebrated Jamaica’s 50th Independence, it became glaringly obvious that there were scant documented accounts of the achievements of the Jamaican-American community in the region because of the lack of a repository of information.
Since the 1960s, Jamaicans in Florida have made tremendous strides in a variety of fields including culture, business, medicine, law, politics, sports, and the media. This has been accounted for merely by lip service. In fact, the region is one of the strongest Jamaican Diaspora communities in North America, rivaled by only that in New York, and the communities in Toronto, Canada, and London in the United Kingdom.
As the Jamaican Consulate General in Miami, and the 50th anniversary embarked on the mission to honor outstanding South Florida Jamaican community pioneers and achievers in the 1960s, 70s and 80s they were repeatedly frustrated by the very limited information available. The absence of a structured repository base documenting Jamaica’s history and that of the Jamaican Florida community, in particular, presented a call for action to the community to fill this breach.
It was then conceptualized that a Jamaican Cultural and Resource Center (JCRC) as the focal resource point of information on Jamaica and her Diaspora be created. Since then, this original concept was expanded to develop the JCRC as a physical multifunctional center, to also serve as the repository and coordinating center for Jamaican cultural exposition and activities in South Florida.
This center is envisaged to be located at a suitable site in South Florida, more likely within a city with a large Jamaican population, for example, in Broward County namely Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Pembroke Pines or Miramar.
In 2012, an informal entity was established to begin the coordination of raising the required funds to develop this project. The following year, this entity was formerly incorporated as the Jamaican Diaspora Legacy Foundation of Florida, as a non-profit entity, legally targeting grants and other forms of funding.. A Foundation steering committee was formed led by South Florida Jamaican Community leader, Garth A. Rose, as President.
Since 2012, the Consul General has been working in collaboration with the steering committee which includes an advisory architect/engineer team involved in designing the prototype for the envisaged 12,000 SF building. Earlier this year the committee was replaced by a board of directors, in accordance with the by-laws of the Foundation. The board has been involved in researching potential sites for locating the site, planning related promotional strategies for effective fundraising, developing a marketing and business plan, and studying a formal organizational structure for the Fund.
Formal Launch and Public Awareness
A formal launch of the Jamaican Diaspora Legacy Foundation of Florida Incorporated, and the related sustained funding drive is being organized by the Foundation’s board for a date to be announced. Subsequent to this launch a series of public and private fund raisers will be held to generate community interest and source investment for the commencement of this monumental task of Jamaican Diaspora pride – the Jamaica Resource and Cultural Center for the benefit of every Jamaican residing in Florida.