Shore to Shore: Exploring our Personal Black History



My cultural legacy is influenced by my identity as a Black woman of Caribbean descent from Brooklyn, NY. These characteristics are most essential in describing my legacy because they have and will continue to impact every facet of my life. To paint a clearer picture, let me provide you with some context from the past.  

 The earliest memories I have of my identity were deeply rooted in my Trinidadian heritage. Both of my parents are natives of that small island, and even after migrating to the United States, they maintained as much of the culture as they could here in Brooklyn. I was born and raised in Crown Heights, a Brooklyn neighborhood home to a large population of Islanders and other immigrants from around the world. As one of the neighborhoods most known for its Caribbean association, the community hosts an annual parade almost identical to Trinidad’s yearly carnival called the Labor Day Parade. This West Indian celebration takes place only blocks from my childhood home, so whether or not I physically attended the festivities, I was very much a part of the parade. The images of my family’s cultural dances, music, food, and flags taking center stage miles and miles from the Island, and how connected the communities of Brooklyn felt every Labor Day will never leave me. While I didn’t see how rare and special it all was growing up, the legacy of camaraderie in culture is something I hope to pass down to generations to come. 


Rifka Simmons

Associate, Resource Management


In what ways does YOUR cultural legacy inform your present and how will you use it to shape your future? 

The Music of My Black and Hawaiian Soul

By Kendal Sparks