The Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) held a small business power breakfast meeting at Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn on Friday to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Today is a historic day as we remember a legend on the weekend of his birthday,” said Dr. Roy A. Hastick Sr., president and CEO of CACCI. “We have a lot to be thankful for, but we are not there yet. We have a lot of accomplishments to be proud of, but when you look at the scorecard, we are not where we are supposed to be.”
Many local business members, religious leaders and politicians were on hand for the event, including Borough President Eric Adams, Congressmember Yvette D. Clarke, NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Councilmember Mathieu Eugene and Public Advocate Letitia James.
Hon. Sylvia G. Ash was the first to speak. She thanked CACCI for recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. “It wouldn’t be possible to have a CACCI without Dr. King,” Ash said. “We all have to thank him for that because we all stand on his shoulders.”
Comptroller DiNapoli remarked that while we remember Dr. King that it is important to remember that his dream has not yet been completely realized. “Dr. Hastick set us off in the right way, reminding us of the words and message of Dr. King’s life, his dream and the fact that he left for us an unfinished agenda,” DiNapoli said. “While we can mark progress, the work of that agenda continues.”
Adams gave an impassioned speech about Dr. King. Among the things he talked about was the importance of the new NYC municipal ID cards. He said that Martin Luther King Jr. would have been a strong supporter of those cards and the way that they help immigrants achieve the American dream.
“You cannot build a wall around the Caribbean and South and Central America, but have an open door if you come from Europe,” Adams said. “No. Everyone should have the right to come past the Statue of Liberty and say, ‘I want to be a part of this great country.’ Everyone should be able to participate.”
Congressmember Clarke repeated many of the same ideas that the other speakers expressed and also reminded everyone of the powerful role CACCI has played in helping people and small businesses.
“CACCI has had a substantial record of accomplishment on behalf of the businesses that define our community here in Brooklyn,” Clarke said. “Businesses that have allowed many families to start their pursuit of the American Dream that Dr. King felt every American should have the ability to achieve.”
CACCI, which was created in 1985, has more than 1,700 members in New York state, many of whom live locally. It specializes in providing business assistance to small startups and emerging businesses as they expand. Its power breakfast is an annual event, one of more than 600 business networking meetings it has held since its establishment.
“We have been doing this meeting for quite a while,” said CACCI board chairman Edmund A. Sadio. “The numbers are still there and growing because we all know what it meant for us. CACCI works, and networking works.”