From its birth in 1962, as “Trinidad All Stars“ football (soccer) team, through the “Trinidad and Tobago Cultural and Sporting Association” in 1966, to its present incarnation as the “ Trinidad and Tobago Association of Washington, D.C., Inc.” there is a history of unparalleled achievement.
By pushing the boundaries of existence in a foreign country (culture) that disparate group of Howard University students constructed an institution and a legacy of which we remain proud to this day.
As a football team in the National Soccer League the Trinidad All Stars became a force to be reckoned with and produced championship caliber football. Not many years later, they organized and staged the first Caribbean Round Robin soccer tournament with teams from Canada and the Eastern United States and co-sponsored a tour to Trinidad and Tobago with the BWIA Sunjets of New York in 1973.
In keeping with its name as a Cultural and Sporting Organization, it sponsored numerous events involving prominent Caribbean artists, politicians and diplomats. Among them were C.L.R. James, George Lamming, Walter Rodney, Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm Sir Ellis Clarke, Calypso Rose, The Mighty Sparrow, Lord Funny, The Merrymen (Barbados), The Fabulous Five (Jamaica), The Troubadors (Guyana) and “Crazy”.
The Association also maintained its attachment to Trinidad and Tobago, and the wider Caribbean community by tangible assistance with hurricane and other natural disasters relief. In fact, they donated the first Kidney Dialysis machine in Trinidad and Tobago to the Port of Spain General Hospital.
In the Washington, D.C. area, it continued to contribute to the community by establishing a Scholarship Fund for Caribbean students at local Universities; providing food baskets during its Harvest Project and Thanksgiving, participated in the Angel Tree Project (A prison Ministry for children with incarcerated parents); and initiated an Ecumenical Service to celebrate the founding of the Association and the creation of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago where “Every Creed and Race Find An Equal Place”.
After its legal incorporation in 1970, and through the vision, insight, energy, and the personal credit of some of the members, the Association became the first of its kind to own its own premises, initially at 1501 Delafield Place, N.W., Washington, D.C., and later at 5123 Georgia Avenue, N.W., a major business thoroughfare in the District of Columbia, which became the center of Caribbean activities such as conferences, weddings, meetings and other social events.
Additionally, they convened the first, and only, conference of North American Trinidad and Tobago Organizations (NATTO) in an attempt to unify and magnify the voice of our nationals when dealing with local and national issues, both here and in the Caribbean. The dedicated and committed members also found the time to produce a newspaper, IERE that informed and energized the Caribbean community in the DMV. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago recognized the Association’s service to the community with the award of the Chaconia Gold Medal.
While the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Washington, DC remains a towering achievement of organization and dedication of its members, over the years the demographics of the community has changed from first generation nationals to second and third generations with different needs, aspirations and levels of assimilations into the larger community. The organization has had to adjust to these changes and is now at a crossroad of its existence. One can only hope that the pioneering and indomitable spirit demonstrated by the original membership is available to shepherd the Association through this tumultuous period.