Garifuna Coalition

Award Recipients - 2009

José Fransisco Ávila & Rejil Solis, Co-Founders

The Garifuna Coalition USA (GCU) serves as a resource, forum, advocate and united voice for the Garifuna immigrant community. The Garifuna are descendants of Carib, Arawak and African people living along the Caribbean Coast in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Today, an estimated 200,000 Garifuna, the largest population outside of Central America, live in New York City. In 2009, GCU opened the Garifuna Advocacy Center in the heart of the South Bronx on East 149th Street.

The Advocacy Center’s volunteers open doors six days a week to provide information, educational services, networking opportunities and cultural events for the community as well as social services referrals, English-as-a-Second Language instruction and GED classes. Other services aim to enhance civic engagement through capacity-building workshops for smaller organizations and a voter registration campaign. GCU achieved recognition of Garifuna Heritage Month from March 11th through April 12th.

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