Windrush then and now – A day to celebrate how the Windrush Generation helped to create the Black British society we know today 

22 June 2021 will mark the fourth national Windrush Day and 73 years since the SS Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948 carrying the first Caribbean migrants to the UK to help re-build Britain after the Second World War. 

Windrush Day was launched in June 2018, in the wake of the Windrush Scandal, to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the pioneering Windrush Generation in the UK.

The Windrush Scandal was a situation created when many of the Windrush Generation suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of immigration legislation because they couldn’t provide the paperwork to prove they had the right to stay in the UK. Either because they’d never been given any paperwork by previous governments in the first place, or because the government had destroyed their own copies of paperwork and suddenly put the onus on individuals to ‘prove’ their right to stay. Many West Indians have been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights while they struggled to provide the information required by government. Some in the “hostile environment” created by the government policy are still fighting for justice in 2021.

This year, Black History Month UK is planning to mark Windrush Day by shining a light on how the Windrush Generation laid the foundations for the Black British society we know today. It will also present their amazing legacy to all of British society and feature the contributions they made and continue to make.

 

West Indian immigrants arrive at Victoria Station, London, after their journey from Southampton Docks. Original Publication: Picture Post – 8405 – Thirty Thousand Colour Problems – pub. 1956 (Photo by Haywood Magee/Getty Images)

We are inviting readers to share what Windrush Day and the Windrush Generation mean to them in 2021, whether it’s a personal experience of migration, the impact a family member has had on their life, how the Windrush spirit lives on in Black British society, or the continued fight for equality and justice marked by the Windrush Scandal.

People are welcome to share their stories and experiences via letter, email or social media, including video and audio clips.

Catherine Ross, Editor of Black History Month UK, who moved to the UK with her family from St Kitts in the 1950s, explained:

“Windrush Day isn’t just about marking a moment in time – the moment when the first of the Windrush Generation set foot in the UK – it’s also about what’s happening now around the diaspora and for different generations of Windrush descendants. 

“The Windrush Generation had an incredible impact on British society and we’d love people to share their stories and experiences. Whether you consider yourself Caribbean or Black British, we all share the same heritage and have developed a unique culture here in the UK – that has grown and evolved over the generations, from 1948 to the present day. I for one am excited to see what’s next, and where we will go from here.” 

To find out more and get involved please:

Email: editor@blackhistorymonth.org.uk

Visit:www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/section/the-windrush/ and www.windrushday.org.uk/

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