New Jersey Folk Festival Program Book 2013 Apr. 2013 - Page 17

Grand Marshall Dorina Castillo Dorina Castillo migrated from Dangriga, Belize in the early 70s. She attended New York City Community College, Brooklyn now known as New York Technical College where she earned her Associate Degree in Secretarial Science. She continued her education at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan and earned her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Government and Public Administration with a minor in Personnel Administration, in May, 1984. Dorina has been involved with her community from 1979. She wanted the Garifuna children born in the United States to know their culture. In order to achieve this goal she formed the Committee for the Educational Progress of Children (CREPC) whose mission statement was to make the children aware of their culture. Dorina along with other parents joined forces and mission was accomplished. About thirty children were taught their culture, which included the language, drama, dances, food, and the history of the Garifuna people. Dorina has also held several offices within various Garifuna organizations. These include Illagilei Garifuna Performing Arts Company, President; United Garifuna Association, Secretary/Public Relations Officer; Hamalali Garifuna Tidan Ligilisi Katolika, Secretary; and Garifuna Mass Committee, Vice President. Honorary Grand Marshall Teofilo Colon Teofilo Colon Jr. is a Garifuna-American filmmaker, photographer, chief writer, and editor of the Being Garifuna website and blog. Founded by Teofilo Colon Jr. (aka Tio Teo or Teofilo Campeon) in February 2010, BEING GARIFUNA is an internet platform that uses photos, videos and articles to document the culture, arts, politics, Sports, spirituality, and social lives of people of Garifuna descent. Born and raised in the East New York section of Brooklyn, Teofilo’s parents (who are from the Garifuna Villages of Tocamacho and Plaplaya in Honduras) always insisted that he was of Garifuna descent as opposed to simply being Honduran-American. However, it wasn’t until he began doing research on the culture and history of the Garifuna People in the mid-2000s that he was able to put his ethnic heritage into context. In short, with their mixed Caribbean ancestry and resistance to British colonization in the late 1700s on their ancestral land of St. Vincent; Teofilo discovered that the Garifuna people have a unique and compelling story when it comes to their place in the history of Black people in the Americas. It was that realization that spurred his early efforts to spread awareness of the Garifuna people on the internet. Profiled by The Caribbean Life and New York Daily News newspapers as well as the New York City ethnic news show, Independent Sources; Teofilo Colon Jr.’s Being Garifuna website, blog and Facebook Page has relatively quickly become a reliable source and internet destination for those interested in learning about the Garifuna people.