- Category: Legacy of Windrush Generation
Campaigners are this weekend calling for an annual celebration of the positive contribution of immigration to Britain. The call, led by politicians, faith groups, academics and artists, comes as the nation prepares to celebrate Windrush Day, marking the 65th anniversary of the arrival into Tilbury Docks of the MV Empire Windrush and the first wave of post-war immigration.Patrick Vernon OBE, founder of One Hundred Great Black Britons, said:
Last year, Danny Boyle chose to include this momentous event in his Olympic Opening Ceremony, recognising its pivotal nature in our nation’s history. This year, the 65th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, organisations and individuals are coming together to celebrate Windrush Day as an opportunity to give thanks for the positive contributions made by those who have come from overseas to our common home.
A service of thanksgiving on Windrush Day itself will hear from one of the surviving passengers of that momentous voyage, Sam King MBE. Mr King, a veteran of the Second World War, will tell the congregation at Bloomsbury Baptist Church about his experiences of arriving and living in Britain and how he went on to become the first ever black mayor of Southwark. Arthur Torrington CBE of the Windrush Foundation said:
Those who arrived on the Windrush paved the way for generations of those seeking to make a life in Britain and to make a contribution, just like Sam King,They came here to work hard, provide for their families and rebuild Britain after the War, a proud tradition that ought to be celebrated."
Windrush Day seeks to celebrate not only these pioneers of modern migration, but those who have come to Britain in the decades since. From science and technology to sport and the arts, Britain has much to be grateful for the positive impact made by those who have chosen this country as their home.
Sunder Katwala, Director of the think tank British Future, added:
"Many aspects of British society today would be unrecognisable without the contributions which immigration and integration have made to our society over the generations: from the NHS to the monarchy, our language and literature, our culture and food, even the Olympic team that we cheered together last year. That is why I’ll be celebrating Windrush Day."
The campaign crosses party political and faith lines, with MPs from the three main political parties joining faith groups in signing an open letter supporting the establishment of Windrush Day. Among the signatories are Conservatives Kris Hopkins, Paul Uppal and Gavin Barwell, Labour’s Dame Tessa Jowell and Sadiq Khan and Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather.
The letter to The Times with the list of signatories can be seen here