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Guyanese people in the United States — a short Essay by Ingrid Griffith

In Ingrid Griffith’s new 1-woman show, DEMERARA GOLD, one of her characters informs us of a fact that most of us who are not from Guyana may not know. Guyana is known as the land of many waters. Ingrid has contributed a short essay for our readers on the Guyanese people:



America is known as the land of opportunity. For centuries, people from all over the world have found ways by any means necessary to get to America in the hopes of making a better life for themselves and their families.


We have heard stories and watched movies of how the Jews, Italians, Irish, Chinese, Cubans got here. What it took to make the journey. How they managed when they arrived. Where they lived. But there are other less known stories about many other immigrant groups that are part of America’s melting pot and its success.


More than 6 million US residents are self-identified members of the Guyanese/Caribbean diaspora. According to the American Community Survey in metro New York, over 174 thousand people were born in Guyana.   Afro-Guyanese migrated to metro New York throughout the 20th century, but the 1950s and 60s saw the first large waves. Responding to a labor shortage among health care workers and maids and nannies in New York, Afro-Guyanese women were often the first to arrive.


Guyana is a South American country on the northern coast with three-quarters of a million people whose culture is closely related to the English-speaking Caribbean islands. When Guyana transitioned to a socialist government in the 1970s, unemployment and inflation skyrocketed, prompting the largest wave of Afro-Guyanese migration, which peaked in the 1980s.


The Guyanese population in metro New York is about one-quarter the size of its population in Guyana, and New York City’s Guyanese population is only slightly less than Georgetown, the capital and largest city in Guyana. Immigration has slowed since but still remains steady.

-Ingrid Griffith


Immigration and the Guyanese/Caribbean diaspora are themes in Ingrid’s vividly told coming-of-age story of a young girl from Guyana. Griffith’s one-woman show, DEMERARA GOLD, represents the many generations of the Caribbean diaspora who have come north seeking better opportunities. Her account is every immigrant’s story for it shows the sacrifices her family made. It shines a light on what relocation, culture shock and assimilation feel like; what going from being in the majority to being a “minority” feels like.


We suggest that you click the link below to get more information on Ingrid’s one woman show, DEMERARA GOLD, and all of the other wonderful plays in this year’s MIDTOWN INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, running in various locations in New York City from now until August 10, 2014.


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July 18, 2014 - Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, LIFESTYLES, opportunity, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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