The 75th anniversary this year of the Windrush arriving in the UK – a key moment in Britain’s history of migration – is a “Diamond Jubilee for modern, diverse Britain,” says Patrick Vernon, Convenor of the Windrush 75 network.
Voices from across UK society – from sport and culture to politics, faith and business – are speaking out today about why Windrush 75 matters and what they will be doing to mark the anniversary this year. Actor Lenny Henry, politician David Lammy, historian David Olusoga and Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, are among those showing their support for Windrush 75, alongside Windrush descendants and representatives of the FA, English Cricket Board, Tesco and Royal Mail, who will issue a set of special stamps in June to mark the Windrush anniversary.
New polling for the Windrush 75 network, published today, finds that 6 in 10 people in Britain (61%) agree that ‘Britain owes a great deal to the Windrush generation of migrants and should recognise their contribution as part of our national story.’ People also want this history taught in schools: a further 6 in 10 (62%) agree that ‘The arrival of Windrush is a key moment in Britain's history of migration and change. It is important for integration today that all of our children are taught about the shared history of a multi-ethnic Britain.’
Hear from the wide variety of organisations who are planning to mark this significant anniversary…
Patrick Vernon, Convenor of the Windrush 75 network, said:
“Windrush 75 is like a Diamond Jubilee for modern, diverse Britain. We are celebrating four generations of contribution, legacy, struggle and positive change. And it is a moment to look to the future too, at how we address the challenges to come.”
David Lammy MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, said:
“The 75th anniversary of Windrush will be an emotional day in many communities as we remember the sacrifices of a generation which gave so much to this country, but it is bittersweet. A time to celebrate how migration and diversity has helped build modern Britain – but also to put pressure on the government to finally give the victims of the Windrush scandal the compensation they deserve.”
The arrival of the ship HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in Essex in 1948, bringing 500 passengers from the Caribbean, is a moment that symbolises the start of post-war Commonwealth migration to Britain and the shift towards the multi-ethnic society of Britain today. This year, 22 June 2023 will mark its 75th anniversary and the Port of Tilbury will be a focal point of activities to mark Windrush Day. The legacy of the Windrush is seen all over the UK, however, and towns and cities across Britain are preparing to make the 75th anniversary.
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic theatre, said:
“The Windrush embodies so many human stories – of dreams for the future, injustice and adversity, identity and belonging – which have spanned generations over the last 75 years. It’s a powerful symbol that will inspire culture-makers throughout 2023.”
Dr Dwain Neil OBE, Chairman of Reach Society said:
"To mark the 75th anniversary of the modern Black community, Reach Society shall be doing several things. Here are some key ones:
Firstly, the Society, in partnership with Life Radio UK, shall be broadcasting the Milestones series which will feature our contributions across the seven and a half decades. The series launched on 12 December, and the first of ten episodes was aired on Monday, 19 December. A set of podcasts shall also be offered.
Secondly, from the start of the year, the Society, in collaboration with Turtle Bay restaurants, shall be building awareness of the Windrush Day Thanksgiving Gatherings urging the modern Black community to celebrate cultural esteem all across the UK, and where possible making use of the 50 plus Turtle Bay restaurants as places to host Gatherings.
Thirdly, on 22 June the Society shall be hosting a Windrush Day Thanksgiving Gathering in the Turtle Bay restaurant in Brixton to which the public will be invited."