Belize Independence Spotlight: Raymond “Ray” Gongora

As Belizeans around the world celebrate 34 years of independence this week, The National Weekly sheds a spotlight on the many ways the Diaspora has enriched South Florida. Honoring this independence spirit, we spoke with members of the community in South Florida to talk about what makes them proud Belizeans in America.

Raymond “Ray” Gongora

Born in: Belize City, Belize

Lives in:  Pembroke Pines

Life’s Passion: Known for his electronic newsletters providing news from across the Belizean Diaspora, Ray loves learning and celebrating what the global, diverse community has to offer, whether it’s concerts in New York, or charity fundraising efforts in Miami. “I’m proud that people continue to say thanks for what I am doing and complement me as a true Diaspora Representative,” says Ray. “In times of need and disaster we [Belizeans] know how to pull together.”

Miss most about home: Through grateful for the Florida sand and surf, Ray says he most misses “the Caribbean Sea and the sea breeze – it is totally different.” And though he’s still far from home, the former theater director keeps his connection close to Belize by supporting the arts. “The arts and culture of Belize – it is very rich,” says Ray. “There are the East Indian, Creole, Garifuna, Mayan, and Mestizo, and the food, language, dance, and music are different and representative of each ethnic group.”

What makes him a proud Belizean-Americans: The name says it in itself – Belizean to the Bone!” says Ray. “You better Belize it! And as a Caribbean-American I am proud to continue to contribute to fostering ine Caribbean!”

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