By Nicole George
Dominican-Canadians from Hamilton and environs, joined together last Saturday for a joyous celebration of Dominican culture and traditions, at the 40th Anniversary observance of the Commonwealth of Dominica Association Hamilton (CODAH).
President Lucia Joy Stewart reflecting on the accomplishments of the Association over its 40 year history, thanked the efforts of its founders, past and current membership, said “We greatly appreciate all those who have supported us throughout the 40 years. Part of our mandate is to employ our youth, uplift our people and assist the less fortunate. We’ve achieved that immensely.”
Stewart also urged the audience to ponder Dominica’s recovery following Hurricane Maria in 2017,“Relatively speaking, we’ve seen huge improvements in housing and infrastructure and while there is still a lot to done in terms of job creation and boosting the economy, Dominica is on track to be the ‘world’s first climate-resilient country’ in a few years. We should also reflect on how fragile our lives are and that we ought to show compassion and empathy towards our fellow men/women.”
She suggested that we should asked ourselves: “What have I done for others during my lifetime? Then think of those who were left with hardly the bare necessities, wondering, what would happen next. However, a strong spirit, determination, drive and compassion are traits that will sustain us.”
Keynote speaker, Justice Irving Andre commended CODAH for its wide range of services and acts of volunteerism in Hamilton, “Dominican patriots are making a difference in the lives of their countrymen and compatriots both home and abroad. This Association has been in the vanguard of fundraising to assist their compatriots who were disadvantaged by Hurricane Maria, mobilizing Hamiltonians to contribute supplies to persons suddenly made homeless”
Justice Andre added that”…here in Hamilton, the heartbeat of patriotism and generosity has pumped life-saving assistance into the sick and unfortunate, young and old, rich and poor, all of whom were made helpless by winds that tore down the economic and social barriers that previously separated them. Dominican patriots…have made tremendous contributions to their adopted communities… and without fanfare, nourished the soil of good citizenship right here in Hamilton, giving the city a vibrancy and warmth it would otherwise lack.”
A number of longstanding members were recognized for years of service to CODAH, while several students received scholarship awards including Isaac Bedminster, Jessica Corriette and Chrystal Henry.
The Event, which was held at the Marquis Gardens Banquet Hall, also featured cultural performances by the CDOAH Cultural Dancers, contemporary dance by Jasmine Francis and Nikessa Joseph, and songs by artists Andrea Henry and Lorne Hind.