On Friday September 22, 2017, Members, Friends, Well-Wishers and City Officials gathered outside the steps of City Hall in Orange County New Jersey, USA, to witness the St. Kitts and Nevis Flag Raising Ceremony in the City of Orange Township.
The ceremony was hosted by an organization that was founded some 75 years ago known as the Sons and Daughters of St. Kitts Benevolent & Charitable Society of New Jersey.
The Charitable organization regarded the Flag Raising Ceremony as a necessary undertaking aimed at drawing attention to St. Kitts and Nevis by ensuring the national flag of the Federation is hoisted in front of the Orange County City Hall, in New Jersey. The ceremony also marked the 75th Anniversary of The Sons and Daughters of St. Christopher Benevolent & Charitable Society of New Jersey.
President of the organization, Ms. Anita White introduced the idea of The Flag Raising Ceremony with the support of the members of her organization and together, their persistence and commitment to the initiative ensured the endeavor was a successful one.
On the afternoon of the ceremony, President White reminded those in attendance of Marcus Garvey’s quote: “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” She used the history of her organization to demonstrate the value of such a saying to nationals and future generations of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Sons and Daughters of St. Christopher Benevolent & Charitable Society of New Jersey was established by Kittitian and Nevisian forefathers who sought to bring together many of the natives, spouses and descendants of the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis for social, intellectual, moral, and community upliftment.
President White used the ceremony as a platform to share the history of the formation of the organization from a small group of Kittitians and Nevisians residing in New York, to an active group of men and women enthusiastic about St. Kitts and Nevis.
The group would often meet after playing cricket against what was then “The Newark West Indian Cricket Club” from New Jersey and after matches, the New Yorkers were persistent in stirring up the idea that it would be beneficial for New Jersey to have their own organization. The organization in New York was called, The Sons and Daughters of St. Christopher Society in America, Inc. Ms. Rhonda Greene, who resided in New York at the time, was one of the people who was instrumental in the formation of the organization in New Jersey.
Representative of the Mayor’s Office, Former Council Member, Mr. Elroy Corbitt congratulated the people of St. Kitts and Nevis on the attainment of their 34th anniversary of Independence and declared that it was a wonderful opportunity for St. Kitts and Nevis and likewise for the City of Orange, a small City that looks out for its community.
Participants at the memorable flag raising ceremony included South Ward Councilmember, Honorable Jamie Summers-Johnson, Sybil Darlington, Financial Secretary, Dr. Jennifer Robinson, Chair of the Historical Committee. President White reminded guests of the St. Kitts & Nevis Independence 34th Anniversary Theme: “Youth, Vision, and Integrity: Securing our Nation’s Prosperity. While she spoke to the value of young people, she also reminded attendees of the natural disasters around the world and requested all to take one minute to pray, and remember those who have lost so much as a result of the disasters.
The hour long program ended with guests singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.” Chaplain Gaters offered a unifying prayer for St. Kitts and Nevis and thanked all for joining in the celebratory occasion. All in attendance were proud to be part of the historic celebration in honor of the independent twin island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.