The purpose of the Windrush Day celebration in the UK is to recall the contribution of migrants from the Caribbean islands to the recovery of the country’s economy after the Second World War. On June 22, the MV Empire Windrush delivered more than 1,000 migrants to the Tilbury Docks in Essex. They were waiting for jobs in the most important industries – steel, iron, coal, food, health care, and public transport management. By 1961, there were 172,000 Afro-Caribbean migrants and their families living in the UK – they are called the “Windrush Generation”.
Many migrants who have arrived in the United Kingdom have had to deal with many manifestations of racism and intolerance. Because of the color of their skin, visitors were denied rental housing, working for private entrepreneurs, attending churches, clubs, and catering establishments.
In 2013, Jamaican-born British political activist Patrick Vernon created a petition to celebrate Windrush Day. In 2018, he resumed his activity in connection with the ‘Windrush scandal’: it turned out that the archive of entry documents of the “Windrush generation” was destroyed, and harsh changes in migration legislation actually turned migrants into illegal immigrants, illegally residing in the country and subject to deportation. The government approved Windrush Day and provided financial support for various events: dances, exhibitions, lectures, and debates.
On Windrush Day 2021, a plaque was erected in memory of activist Paulette Wilson of the Windrush generation, who had to fight against her own deportation to Jamaica and defend the rights of her fellows.
How to take part
You can also celebrate this holiday.
- Read the history of the Windrush generation.
- Talk about it on social networks.
- Talk to people about how racism is unacceptable in a civilized society.
When is Windrush Day celebrated in 2024?
Windrush Day is observed on June 22 each year.