About Us


It is the mission of the Caribbean Heritage Organization to:

Chronicle the experiences of the expatriated Caribbean people, from the most recently arrived immigrants to leaders in American and European societies—from life on the streets of Brooklyn, London, Toronto to deal making in the halls of power.
Showcase and educate in the different aspects of Caribbean arts and culture in and outside the region. Conserve and celebrate the rich and diverse contributions of the Caribbean and its people to the international society. Support and nurture existing and emerging creative talent in the Caribbean through academic scholarships, mentorship and promotion of Caribbean films and filmmakers, theater and dance. Caribbean Heritage Organization, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) entity.


Marva Griffiths Herman was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and has been involved with the Caribbean-American community for much of her life. After a break of caring for her two young sons, she became active again in the Caribbean-American community when she was approached by longtime friend Dr. Claire Nelson of the Washington, DC-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), to assist her with efforts to petition the United States government to establish a National Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

On February 14, 2006, the United States Senate passed the Concurrent Resolution establishing June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. Herman spearheaded the successful Los Angeles grassroots campaign and the inaugural celebrations held on June 16, 2006 where the LosAngeles City Council presented a proclamation establishing June as Caribbean American Heritage Month in Los Angeles in perpetuity.
As a result of the congressional resolution, in 2007 Herman founded the Caribbean Heritage Organization, Inc. (CHO), which produces the official Los Angeles Caribbean-American Heritage Month gala, the acclaimed Caribbean Heritage Salute to Hollywood & Excellence and the CaribbeanLens International Film Festival, Where Hollywood Celebrates the Caribbean™.

In addition to serving as executive director of the CHO, she is the West Coast representative for ICS, serves on the board of Los Angeles-based ReadLead and serves on the advisory board of Brooklyn-based Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute.

This proud mother of two Jamericans is pleased that her Anansi and Jamaican folklorist, the Hon. Louise Bennett, bedtime stories paid off when her younger son, garnered a spot on Bill Cosby’s “Kids Says the Darndest Thing” with his toothless recital of Miss Lou’s “Love Letta.”

Advisory Board

Heather Anderson

  • Vice President
  • Programming & Acquisitions
  • ESPN

Hemma Lomax

  • Sr. Corporate Counsel
  • Integrity & Compliance
  • Snap, Inc.

Marva Griffiths Herman

  • Founder, President & CEO
  • Caribbean Heritage Organization, Inc.

Carmen J. Smith

  • SVP, Creative Development
  • Walt Disney Imagineering

Dean Fenton, Sr.

  • Marketing & Sales, USA
  • Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Dorothy McLeod

  • Founder & President
  • Jamaica Cultural Alliance

April King

  • Talent Agent
  • William Morris Endeavor (WME)

Francesca Harewood

  • SVP, Business Affairs
  • NBC Universal

Shanique & Dr. Robert Drummond

  • Shanique: Cast Member of Bravo’s Married to Medicine, Los Angeles
  • Robert: MD, PhD, Lead Urgent Care Clinician and Lab Director

Claire Nelson, Ph.D.

  • Founder & President
  • Institute of Caribbean Studies-DC

Zuri Marley

  • Actress, DJ, & Vocalist
  • Chair, Robert Nesta Marley Humanitarian Award

Yemi Adegbonmire

  • Attorney

Caribbean-American Heritage Month
Bill History

Claire A. Nelson, Ph.D. is the Founder and President of the Washington, DC-based non-profit Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS). Established in 1993, ICS is dedicated to research, policy analysis, and education with a focus on issues that impact the Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora. The purpose of the Institute is to provide a forum for scholars, the private sector, the non-government organization community and others interested in promoting a dialogue on Caribbean issues. The Institute seeks to address economic development problems facing Caribbean society, and to adopt a thorough, systematic and coordinated long-term perspective towards their resolution.
Since its inception, ICS has been on the forefront of the challenge to bring attention to the issues of critical importance to the Caribbean American community, which numbers over 3 million. ICS represents an important role in history as the first Caribbean-American community organization in the Washington DC area devoted to the successful inclusion of Caribbean-Americans in US policy making, and the economic development of the Caribbean region. ICS has built up a unique network of knowledgeable and committed individuals with expertise in a variety of sectors.