USVI 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee Marks International Women’s Day 2024; Honors Territory’s “Dozen Roses”
USVI 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee Marks International Women’s Day 2024; Honors Territory’s “Dozen Roses”

Chairwoman Carol M. Burke

ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, UNITED STATES, March 8, 2024 / — In recognizing International Women’s Day on March 8, 2024, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee chooses to honor the contributions of the Territory’s women not only to its rich historical past, but also to the present.

Carol M. Burke, Chairwoman of the 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee, noted that throughout the history of the Virgin Islands, women have been central figures in shaping the islands’ culture, heritage and progress.

“Our committee is proud to honor the women who have set trailblazing examples before us. Through their lives they demonstrate leadership, integrity, and the ability to impact our society positively. We are grateful for those who forged the paths for the many smart, amazing women we have as leaders and trailblazers today,” she said.

As part of its Women’s History Month celebration, the 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee will pay special homage this year to an honor roll of a “Dozen Roses”, 12 women of notable accomplishments in a range of areas impacting the Virgin Islands’ community and quality of life. Embodying qualities of leadership, innovation and community service, the selected women hail from sectors including public service, banking and telecommunications, hospitality and education, legal services, entrepreneurship and more.

The honorees are:

Dina Perry-Malone, Vice President, First Bank
Jennifer Matarangas-King, Vice President, Viya
Elizabeth Armstrong, Owner, The Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort
Karen Nelthropp, Guest Relations Manager, Cruzan Rum
Cynthia Arnold, Vice President, Diageo USVI
Marjorie Roberts, President, Marjorie Roberts, PC
Karla Yhan, St. Croix Island Manager, Tropical Shipping
Maria Cabret, Judge, Supreme Court
Dr. Karen Harris Brown, Dean, School of Education, University of the Virgin Islands
Anise Hodge, Deputy Executive Director, Virgin Islands Port Authority
Sonia Sprauve, Entrepreneur
Elizabeth Rogers, Owner, Colormax

“The leadership and dedication of these women have not only contributed to the economic and cultural vitality of the U.S. Virgin Islands, but also serve as an inspiration for future generations,” observed Chairwoman Burke, herself a prominent figure and a pillar of leadership within the U.S. Virgin Islands, who has dedicated her life to public service, community development, and the advancement of the Territory’s cultural heritage. A seventh-generation Crucian, Burke’s journey from her early education on St. Croix to her role in both local and national politics showcases her commitment to her community and her passion for social justice.

Throughout her career, Burke has held a variety of leadership positions, including serving as the Assistant Commissioner for Employment and Training at the Department of Labor, where she was instrumental in developing the Labor Investing for Tomorrow (LIFT) program.

As Chairwoman of the 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee, Burke’s leadership was pivotal in organizing events and initiatives that celebrated the emancipation of slaves in the former Danish West Indies, today’s U.S. Virgin Islands. She proudly shares this space with equally strong, diverse, and inspiring women. Her work with the committee demonstrates her dedication to preserving the islands’ rich cultural identity and promoting its historical significance on both a national and international level.

The U.S. Virgin Islands 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee invites all Virgin Islanders to be reminded of the vital role women play in shaping society and contributing to cultural preservation, political leadership, and community development. Over the coming months, the committee will continue its work to commemorate the Virgin Islands’ proud legacy through events and initiatives such as “Call of the Conch”, the Cruzan Rum-branded specialty brand created for the Committee; the Food Fair on St. Thomas; St. Thomas Carnival activities; “Freedom Week” and Emancipation Ball; the Anna Heegard Memorial and Garden Ceremony; the dedication of Emancipation Drive; other public space naming events, and more.

About the Virgin Islands 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee

The Virgin Islands 175th Emancipation Commemoration Committee was formed to oversee and create events, activities, awareness and engagement pertaining to the 2023 celebrations. On July 1, 2022, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed an executive order establishing the committee to oversee the Territory’s preparations for events to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The mission of the committee is to commemorate the U.S. Virgin Islands’ 175th Emancipation with inclusive programs that educate, engage and inspire U.S. Virgin Islanders to renew and strengthen their achievement. The vision is that the shared experiences of 175 years will have ignited imaginations, illuminated diverse stories, inspired service to others, and demonstrated years of achievement, struggle, sacrifice and resilience, while framing the narrative of the next 175 years. For further information, visit

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