The New Year brings in the spirit of expectations and promise of transformations, progress and new opportunities. At CCCADI we welcome the opportunity to continue our collaborative work connecting our communities at the local, national and international through our programs. Looking forward also provides time for reflection of the accomplishments of CCCADI over the past 37 years. The beginning was a project documenting the Caribbean collections in “major” institutions that held the work of our heritages generally in basements poorly labeled and little knowledge of the context of the work as part of a Senior Fellowship I received through the Metropolitan Museum as a Rockefeller Senior Fellow. Howard Klein from the Rockefeller Foundation was impressed by the work and encourage me to develop a larger project to continue the work of documentation of collections relating to Caribbean communities. Public programs of the findings incorporating anthropologists, historians and collectors made a broader community aware of the lack of information available on these collections and public school teachers immediately responded that they needed the information to share with school children so they could understand the contributions of our people.The natural extension was then to develop exhibitions and educational material to provide much needed information to students, educators and the general public.
The Phelps Stokes Fund under the leadership of Ambassador Williams and Ambassador LeMelle nurtured the CCCADI providing free resources to encourage our growth and support to eventually own our building at 408 West 58th Street. At the 58th Street location the CCCADI understood that our role was to continue connecting our African Diaspora communities throughout the Caribbean, Latin, North and Central America to our root traditions in Africa. It was clear through the participation of scholars, artists and traditional leaders that we share a common philosophical perspective, sacred aesthetic motivated by meaning and informed by our histories, realities in our countries and globally conditions. In this journey to make visible the contributions of our communities several strands of work emerged and have had significant impact in making theme part of the public dialogue and cultural programming focused on African Diaspora traditional religions, scholarship of our intellectuals, the cultural equity issues of our communities and broader marginalized cultural groups.
This work has been the bridging of African Diaspora communities by developing projects like the Afro Latin Caribbean Initiative that connected global advocates focused on the inclusion of Afro Latinos/as in our countries policies and distribution of resources to our communities. Themes of Cultural Equity, African Diaspora Creativity and Intelligence, Afro Latino/as, Education grounded in our historical legacy and Art of Meaning have informed the work of others and especially young scholars who are actively exploring these themes. Yes, we are proud of the advocacy accomplishments that we have made in collaboration with so many other institutions, scholars, traditional leaders, artists, friends too numerous to list.
Now we look forward to the renovation of the landmark firehouse at 120 East 125th Street that will be a central meeting location for the linking of these themes through the work of so many innovative artists, traditional leaders, community scholars, educators and communities at large to further explore, study and share the work that will continue to reframe how our communities contributions are understood and valued. It is our projections that once the building is transferred to CCCADI by the City that construction will start placing us in our new home in 2012. We are still in a fundraising mode and your contributions to the building fund are welcomed. As we look forward we know that the spirit of 2013 will bring the next step in locating CCCADI in the cultural arts historic corridor of 125th Street placing an important institution at the crossroads of the African Diaspora communities that inform our work.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff of CCCADI thank you for being an integral part of our growth and we look forward to our continued work together to achieve the next milestones on behalf of our communities, families and our well being.
Ache – may it be so!
Dr. Marta Moreno Vega