PLAINFIELD, NJ - On the steps of City Hall, officials and residents gathered to celebrate the 57th independence of the island of Jamaica. Many residents of Jamaican heritage turned out in black, green and gold apparel to recognize the colors of the Jamaican flag that was later raised. TAPinto Plainfield was on hand to capture the festivities.

Council President Joylette Mills-Ransome welcomed the crowd on behalf of the Mayor, and Assemblywoman Linda Carter read the Jamaican National Pledge.

Jazz Clayton Hunt, Communications Director and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, kicked off the celebration introducing Deborah Sims, State President of the Jamaican Organization of New Jersey who noted that the theme for Jamaica’s 57th was “one nation, one people,” similar to the American soccer team’s recent victory motto, “one nation, one team.”

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Mr. Gladston Hackett, President of the Jamaican Organization of New Jersey’s Union County Chapter introduced the special guest speaker, Dr. Euton Laing. Laing, a native Jamaican, who is an ordained minister and founder of the New Creation Apostolic Faith Church in Somerset County. Laing also obtained his medical degree at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School specializing in family practice.

Laing, who migrated at age 17, provided a brief history of Jamaican’s independence, including the symbolism of the flag's colors: Black for the strength and creativity of the people, Gold for the natural beauty of the sunlight on the wealth of the country, and Green which signifies hope and cultural resources.

With a population of 2.95 million according the last census, Jamaica, with an area of 244 square miles, is the world’s 138th most populous country.

The event included cultural presentations, Jamaican food, music and vendors.

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