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Philanthropic passion gives birth to Atlanta Caribbean Community Awards

Published:Monday | March 4, 2024 | 12:07 AM
Wesley Graham
Wesley Graham

As a child growing up in Westmoreland, Wesley Graham was inspired by his mother, who worked selflessly as a nurse, often giving her time and efforts to those in need and the less-fortunate.

“Philanthropy means the world to me. It is something my mother instilled in me while I was growing up, because she worked as a nurse, and she always took care of people. She was always giving of herself to the less-fortunate and persons in need and that made me grow to appreciate being selfless and helping others,” said Graham, now a resident of Atlanta, Georgia in the United States.

Graham, who was born in England to Jamaican parents, moved to the US after finishing studies at Godfrey Stewart High School in Savanna-la-Mar.

Three years ago, Graham made the decision to give back to Jamaicans and Caribbean nationals who reside within the US diaspora and Jamaica through the hosting of the Atlanta Caribbean Community Awards, came into fruition.

This year’s event will be held on March 9 at 8020 Rockbridge Rd, S.W. Lithonia in Georgia. The event seeks to honour the works and achievements of people whose contributions have impacted the lives of others positively.

“I wanted to bring awareness to the people who are making huge contributions to the community, but are never recognised. I thought these people needed to be recognised and thought of having the Atlanta Caribbean Community Awards, to ensure that this was done,” Graham explained.

Graham said that, after three years, the objectives of the event have been realised.

“Yes, definitely. This is seen in the way people are now reaching out to me to include them and to ask about the requirements. I am also getting sponsors which I never had when I started out. The event has grown larger so I would say, yes, the objectives have indeed been achieved.”

Some of the philanthropic initiatives and projects that Graham has undertaken over the years have benefitted people within the US and England diaspora as well as in Jamaica.

“The soccer leagues in England, New York and Georgia have been my biggest projects. I have been instrumental in developing these programs to bring our community together. I have also been involved in a number of humanitarian projects which include feeding the hungry, a clothing drive, collecting donations for people in need and being a voice of the underserved in our community,” Graham disclosed.

Since 2023, Robert Shaw, a business associate of Graham, has been co-chair for the awards.

The recipients for the awards are chosen by a committee which comprises a diverse group of Caribbean Leaders and individuals. The awards are presented in the areas of education, entertainment, sports, television and radio and humanitarian. There is also a Lifetime Achievement award.

This year’s recipients will include Jamaican publicist and music producer Ralston Barrett, Jamaican sports personalities Lenworth ‘Lenny’ Hyde, Everton Tomlinson, among otherss.