Leaving behind their lives and crossing the ocean to help rebuild the country, the people who make up the Windrush Generation have played a vital role in post WWII Britain and in the following decades. Windrush Day aims to commemorate the Afro-Caribbean people who offered an enormous contribution to Britain during this time.
History of Windrush Day
The history of Windrush Day dates back to the 1940s and centers around the rebuilding of post-war Britain. Following World War II, a large number of migrant workers mostly from the Caribbean came to work at rebuilding Britain in jobs such as steel, coal, iron and food, as well as service work like public transportation or staffing the NHS.
The ship carrying these workers arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex on June 22, 1948 and was called the HMT Empire Windrush. Aboard the Windrush were more than 1,000 people, at least 800 of whom gave their previous residence as the Caribbean, while others were listed as from India, Kenya, Pakistan and South Africa.
A petition to start the observance of Windrush Day was launched in 2013 by Patrick Vernon and five years later the day was made official. Windrush Day was founded in an effort to recognize and show appreciation for the people who were aboard that ship as well as their families.
Along with their descendants, this group has made a significant contribution to Britain, not only as it recovered from the devastation of WWII but also in the many years since. In addition, the Windrush Generation has laid a vital foundation for Black British society as it is today.
In honor of Windrush Day, communities all over Britain are encouraged to host events and celebrations in honor of this group of people who have continued to be so important. And while it is certainly a time for appreciation, this day also offers an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties that were faced by the Windrush Generation and their descendants.
How to Celebrate Windrush Day
Show some appreciation for those who come from the Windrush Generation by enjoying and celebrating the day in some of these ways:
Attend a Windrush Day Event
In locations throughout Britain various events and activities are coordinated in honor of Windrush Day. Show appreciation and learn more by attending a seminar, art display, sporting event or some other activity that is put on in celebration of the day.
Discover Windrush Connections
Those who believe they might have ancestors who were part of the Windrush Generation can celebrate this day by learning more about their personal connections. The British Maritime Museum, partnered with the Caribbean Socal Forum, has been instrumental in providing free resources and stories to promote Windrush Day and help individuals discover ways their family members may be connected.
Learn About the Windrush Scandal
One way to honor Windrush Day might be to learn more about the Windrush Scandal. Uncovered in 2018, this scandal revealed the difficulties many of these people faced when they were threatened with deportation due to incomplete immigration paperwork. Many have been wrongly detained, denied legal rights and deported even after living and working in Britain for several generations. This eventually resulted in the UK Government apologizing for the deportation threats, but some individuals are still fighting against this injustice.