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Get ready for an exciting announcement! The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is absolutely thrilled to reveal the winners of the esteemed Forerunner Award at the highly anticipated 30th Annual Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards Gala.
The incredible Team Antigua Island Girls (TAIGs) will be the distinguished honorees at this landmark event, which will take place on Friday, November 17th, 2023, at the luxurious JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. under the theme “A Celebration of Excellence and Service.”
The CARAH Awards are presented by the ICS. This prominent Caribbean-American advocacy organization played a pivotal role in obtaining the Presidential Proclamation designating June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month (NCAHM).
These prestigious awards pay tribute to the exceptional accomplishments and significant contributions of Caribbean leaders across various domains, including the Arts, Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology, Sports, and Community Service.
Simultaneously, the awards serve as a platform for highlighting Caribbean pride and showcasing the immense potential and positive impact of Caribbean immigrants in the United States and the global community.
TAIGs will join a remarkable group of eight outstanding Caribbean-American honorees, including Leah Marville from Barbados, Richie Etwaru from Guyana, Cleve Mesidor from Haiti, Stephen “Cat” Coore, Jacky Wright, and Michael Blake from Jamaica, Stuart Archibald from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Lincoln Phillips from Trinidad & Tobago.
TAIGs is a dynamic trio of determined women from Antigua and Barbuda who have etched their names into history with their awe-inspiring ocean-rowing endeavors.
Comprising Christal Clashing, Kevinia Francis, and Samara Emmanuel, this team of pioneers have shattered barriers and redefined the limits of human endurance in the realm of ocean rowing.
Christal Clashing made history as the first woman to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics, an astonishing achievement she accomplished at just 14 years old.
Kevinia Francis stands as the country’s first female black belt martial arts instructor and an accomplished sports performance coach.
Meanwhile, Samara Emmanuel’s remarkable journey led her to become the first Antiguan woman to attain Royal Yachting Association (RYA) certified yacht captain status.
Their ground-breaking journey began with the 3,000 nautical mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in January 2019, where they rowed from La Gomera to Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua, becoming the first black team—male or female—to cross any ocean.
Completing the race in 47 days, 8 hours, and 25 minutes, they rallied the nation and garnered accolades.
But that was just the beginning! These extraordinary women rowed their way into history once again on July 23, 2023, by conquering the World’s Toughest Row—Pacific, covering 2,800 nautical miles from Monterey Bay, California to Kauai, Hawaii. Their awe-inspiring feat was accomplished in just 41 days, 7 hours, and 5 minutes.
What makes TAIGs’ journey even more remarkable is their lack of prior rowing experience. In the face of this challenging task, they demonstrated unwavering commitment and tenacity, forging a bond that transcended the limits of teamwork and elevated to sisterhood.
In just nine months, they transformed from a motley crew of rookies to a proficient and cohesive team.
The team’s ocean-rowing achievements are not only a testament to their courage and determination but also an inspiration to all, proving that ordinary individuals can reach extraordinary heights through sheer grit and commitment.
Congratulations to TAIGs and all the distinguished honorees!