By Victoria Merlino
York College will offer a new course on Indo-Caribbean History during the spring 2019 semester, enabling students to better understand the culture and history of one of Queens’ largest immigrant communities.
CUNY introduced the class after almost three years of advocacy and discussions. The course will cover some of the political, social and economic factors that led to distinct Guyanese, Trinidadian, Surinamese and U.S. Indo-Caribbean communities. The class has special relevance in New York City, where people from Guyana make up the fifth largest immigrant group, according to the March 2018 “State of Our Immigrant City” report from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). Immigrants from Trinidad made up the eighth-largest group, according to MOIA.
“Indo-Caribbean History — HIST 401, as it’s known on campus — is one of the most important new course offerings in a generation,” said Dr. George White, chair of the Department of History, Philosophy and Anthropology at York College. “There is so much about this vibrant community and so much to learn about ourselves through the eyes and voices of these Americans. And you won’t find another course like this anywhere in the United States.”
The course will be taught by Richard David, a District Leader in Assembly District 31, which covers much of Southeast Queens. David, who emigrated from Guyana to the United States as a child, co-founded the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, the largest advocacy and cultural organization for people of Indo-Caribbean descent in the city.
“I’m committed to continuing to create new, and innovative opportunities that are deeply meaningful to so many of us,” David said in a statement. “This is truly an honor.”