Windrush Day in the UK Date in the current year: June 22, 2022

Windrush Day in the UK Windrush Day is observed in the United Kingdom every June 22. It was introduced to commemorate the anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush, a ship carrying the first migrants from the Caribbean to the UK, at the Port of Tilbury in Essex.

Following World War II, the United Kingdom was in urgent need of restoration. There were a lot of jobs that would help rebuild the nation but not enough people to fill these jobs. That’s where immigrants from the former British colonies in the Caribbean came into the picture.

The British Nationality Act 1948 gave the status of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies to all people who lived in the UK and its colonies. One of the objectives of the new law was to encourage mass migration to the UK in order to fill shortages in the labor market and rebuild the country after the war.

Many West Indians jumped at the opportunity to move to the UK and get a job there. One of the first large groups of West Indian immigrants was brought by HMT Empire Windrush. It arrived at the Port of Tilbury in Essex on June 22, 1948, carrying a group of more than 800 migrants from the Caribbean who had boarded the ship in Kingston, Jamaica.

The term “Windrush Generation” usually refers to immigrants from the West Indies who arrived in Britain between 1948 and the early 1970s. These people are believed to have laid the foundation for the present day British African-Caribbean community with its unique culture, customs and traditions. The Windrush Generation and their descendants also contributed to rebuilding the country devastated by the war and helped to make Britain what it is today.

The idea to establish Windrush Day was first voiced by British political activist and social commentator Patrick Vernon back in 2013. He wanted to create a national day to acknowledge the contribution of migrants to UK society. However, it took five years for the initiative to receive official government backing.

Windrush Day was recognized in the wake of the 2018 Windrush scandal that resulted from wrongful detainment and deportation of some members of the Windrush Generation. It was discovered that the Home Office had treated numerous migrants who had come from the Caribbean and had been working and living in the UK for decades as illegal immigrants due to a lack of official paperwork that wasn’t even their fault.

At least 83 people of Caribbean descent were wrongly deported from the UK, and many more lost their jobs or homes, were refused medical care or benefits, had their passports confiscated, or were placed in detention centers.

The official recognition of Windrush Day was one of the ways the British government apologized for the deportation threats. The government backed Patrick Vernon’s idea and allocated funds for Windrush Day events and activities in order to recognize the societal contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants and to keep their legacy alive. Although Windrush Day is officially endorsed by the government, it is not a bank holiday.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

United Kingdom

Tags

Windrush Day in the UK, observances in the UK, Windrush Generation, Windrush scandal, British African-Carribbean community