On Wednesday 22 June, Blackpool Tower sparkled in red, gold, green and blue to celebrate National Windrush Day.
Windrush Day was introduced in June 2018, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Windrush Generation’s arrival in the UK. Since then, across the country Windrush Day has celebrated the incredible contribution the Windrush Generation and their descendants have made to the UK.
The event was led by Glenda Andrew BEM, and Dawn Poleon of Preston Windrush Generation and Descendants UK who instigated the plan light up the tower. Claire joined members of Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre African Caribbean Friends and Relations Association (AFRA) as they headed down to celebrate on the Promenade.
Windrush Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury, near London, on 21 June 1948. However, passengers disembarked a day later 22 June 1948 – hence why this has come to be known as Windrush Day. The arrival of the Empire Windrush nearly 74 years ago marked a seminal moment in Britain’s history and has come to represent the rich diversity of the UK.
Those who arrived on the Empire Windrush, their descendants and those who followed them have made and continue to make an enormous contribution to Britain, not just in the vital work of rebuilding the country and public services following WWII but in enriching our shared social, economic, cultural, and religious life.
The event is shadowed by the Windrush Scandal. In 2018, it emerged that Caribbean people who had arrived legally in the UK were being threatened with deportation and, in some cases, successfully deported. The Home Office had not kept a record of those granted leave to remain, they had also failed to issue paperwork, which made it incredibly difficult for members of the Windrush generation to prove their legal status.
Preston Windrush Generation and Descendants UK is part of a growing network of grassroots groups across the UK working hard to support victims of the Windrush Scandal and the ‘hostile environment’.
Photographs by Claire Griffiths.
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