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Mount Vernon Honors 50 Years Of Jamaican Freedom

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — It's been 50 years since Jamaica gained its independence from England, and Mount Vernon's Jamaican residents couldn't be happier.

People gathered in Hartley Park on Saturday afternoon for food, fun, games and music as the green, yellow and black of the Jamaican flag was proudly flown. Event Co-Organizer Kay Starr said that the day means liberation for Jamaicans and is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

"Mount Vernon has the largest population of Jamaicans in Westchester County," Starr said. "Jamaicans have a close-knit community in Mount Vernon and we all support each other and our businesses. If you are Jamaican in Mount Vernon, you are known."

Mayor Ernie Davis said the festival showed the diversity of Mount Vernon, adding that people from all backgrounds were at the event.

"Celebrating other types of cultures is as American as apple pie," Davis said. "Everyone in this country was an immigrant at some point."

Starr recalled her grandmother at the festival who was from Jamaica and lived there when the country gained its independence. Starr said her grandmother would speak about British rule and the lengths Jamaicans went to to break free.

"When we did something stupid as kids she would always remind us how hard they fought for independence," Starr said.

Click here for a photo gallery of this event.

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