After Ten Years as head of the Brooklyn West Indian Day Carnival, Yolanda Lezema- Clark resigned last December back in 2011. The resignation came after negative press of the Parade associating it with high violence labor day weekend in New York. The Parade, which her father ran up to 2001 has been in the family business for over 40 years. This news have left people wondering, without a Lezama at the head, what will become of the parade?
The accomplishments of Yolanda Clarke are no small feat. According to the WIADCA,
“Lezama-Clark acquired new office space for the organization and began streamlining its operations. In so doing she augmented the organization’s outreach to community groups, mas bands, steelbands, artists, NYPD, city agencies and unions and formed partnerships with other CBOs. She also redefined the organization’s relationship with local elected officials in her effort to take the Carnival to the next level. She focused on increasing cultural awareness by sponsoring a large fact-finding trip to Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival. ”
We have seen what happens to Caribbean Carnivals in the United States without a strong support structure. If we take a look at D.C. Carnival in 2011, which drew criticisms for its abrupt ending, and lack of support of the city. This prompted Community, and Carnival supporters to advocate to the local Caribbean Embassies in D.C.
Although Lezema-Clarke will stay on a board member, the new head of the parade has alot of work to do. Regaining New York’s trust in having the parade safe is a daunting task. Most of New York City’s Parades are changing, especially in how long they last. Some have suggested ending the Carnival at 3pm. Will the length of the West Indian Carnival Parade become more like D.Cs Carnival?