After a virtual celebration in 2021, the Philadelphia Caribbean Festival returned to the streets Sunday, giving community members the opportunity to express and celebrate their heritage.
Despite the pouring rain, Caribbeans united to showcase the impact their communities have on Philadelphia and its surrounding communities. Music could be heard all along the waterfront at Penn’s Landing.
Among the performers was Philly T&T Rhythm Makers, performing beats inspired by the organizers’ Trinidadian heritage. Dane Osbourne says the rhythm the band plays with comes from within, and the energy from the drums unites the crowds that gather when they perform.
“It’s like a certain vibration, a certain amount of excitement, and then when you look around and you see the crowd just gathering around here, it’s like a high, it’s…a great feeling,” Osbourne said.
Orena Rogers waved her Rastafarian flag in the rain along with the beat played by a Trinidadian rhythm group.
She moved from Jamaica to the U.S. at a young age. Rogers says festivals like this allow her to express her roots with the safety of freedom the U.S. has brought her.
“Bringing my flag here, I can do it and not be afraid that I’m going to be thrown in jail or taken away,” Rogers said. “That’s what I love about today, and that’s what I love about this country. It’s a free will country.”
The festival was free to all attendees. Proceeds from raffle tickets, shirts, and souvenirs went towards charitable causes within the Caribbean community, such as college scholarships and aid for victims of the many hurricanes which have torn through the region over the last several years.
The Caribbean population in Philadelphia is made up of nearly 30,000 people, mainly from Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2018, the largest groups of foreign-born Philadelphians are from Asia and the Americas — the latter mostly from Latin America and the Caribbean.
This event was part of the PECO Multicultural Series.
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