[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 86 (Tuesday, May 31, 2016)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E818]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




SUPPORT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A ``NATIONAL CAMEROONIAN HERITAGE AND 
                            DIASPORA MONTH''

                                 ______
                                 

                       HON. CHRISTOPHER P. GIBSON

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, May 31, 2016

  Mr. GIBSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my support for the 
establishment of a ``National Cameroonian Heritage and Diaspora Month'' 
during the month of May to celebrate the great contributions of 
Americans of Cameroonian immigrant heritage in the United States, who 
have enriched the history of our Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, people of recent Cameroonian immigrant heritage and the 
greater Cameroonian diaspora are found in every State of the Union. 
Furthermore, the history of Americans of Cameroonian descent in the 
United States is inextricably tied to the story of the Nation.
  This past year, I have been proud to establish and co-chair the 
Congressional Cameroon Caucus, along with Congressman Andre Carson (D-
IN), Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK) and Congressman Hank Johnson (D-
GA). The Congressional Cameroon Caucus enjoys strong bi-partisan 
support, which includes Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX).
  The community of Americans of Cameroonian immigrant heritage in the 
United States poses an inherently diverse population comprised of 
distinct ethnicities, religions and more than 100 language dialects. 
Americans of Cameroonian immigrant heritage in the United States come 
from all regions in Cameroon and do not constitute a homogeneous group. 
They include people from different religious, linguistic, ethnic, 
racial, cultural, and social backgrounds. Cameroon is nicknamed `Africa 
in Miniature or Mini Africa' for its religious, linguistics, geographic 
and ethnic diversity.
  Mr. Speaker, the month of May has been celebrated by Cameroonians at 
home and abroad, since 1972, because `Cameroon National Day' is on May 
20. Since independence in 1960, Cameroon has earned a reputation as a 
peaceful and welcoming nation, and as a linchpin of regional stability. 
Undoubtedly, Cameroon serves as an important economic, military, and 
cultural partner of the United States.
  Additionally, Americans of Cameroonian descents have traced their 
heritage via DNA to various kingdoms in Cameroon such as Bamileke, 
Hausa, Tikar, Baka. Individuals such as Secretary Condelezza Rice, 
Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congresswoman Kelly Robin; artists such as 
Quincy Jones, Blair Underwood, Venessa L. Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph; 
and thousands of Americans of African-American, Afro-Latino America, 
Afro-European Americans and others, have traced their heritage to 
Cameroon.
  Recent Cameroonian immigrants have also made significant 
contributions to American culture, including in areas of American life 
such as the military, health care, arts, education, community service, 
and public policy. Raising awareness about Cameroonian immigrant 
heritage is crucial to effectively fighting disparities within the 
greater Black population in the American narrative and is essential to 
building a stronger America. Additionally, Americans of recent 
Cameroonian immigrant heritage have played an active role in the civil 
rights movement and other social and political movements in the United 
States such as Sylvie Qwasinwi Bello of the Cameroon American Council.
  Mr. Speaker, the people of Cameroon share the hopes and aspirations 
of the people of the United States for peace and prosperity throughout 
the world, but there remains much to be done to ensure that Americans 
of recent Cameroonian immigrant heritage and the greater Cameroonian 
diaspora have access to resources and a voice in the United States 
Government and continue to advance in the political, social, and 
economic landscape of the United States. Celebrating `National 
Cameroonian Heritage and Diaspora Month' in the month of May would 
provide the people of the United States with an opportunity to 
recognize the achievements, contributions, and history of and to 
appreciate the challenges faced by Americans of recent Cameroonian 
immigrant heritage. For that reason, Mr. Speaker, I believe that a 
``National Cameroonian Heritage and Diaspora Month'' should be 
recognized in May to celebrate the significant contributions of 
Americans of recent Cameroonian Immigrant Heritage to the history of 
the United States.