Did you know that Monday 22nd June was Windrush day? This marked the arrival of the ship The Empire Windrush at Tilbury on 22 June 1948, carrying 493 passengers from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. June 22nd is now known as Windrush Day, a day introduced in 2018 to celebrate the Windrush generation.
But, who are the Windrush Generation? Windrush Day honours the British Caribbean community, and celebrates those people who came to the UK from the late 1940s onwards to help rebuild the country after the Second World War. Most people had a one-way ticket,they were looking for work, adventure, money and some wanted the opportunity to begin a new life in the ‘Mother Country’ (Britain was called this by those who lived in the British Empire).
In 1948, the Windrush carried the first of the large groups of Caribbean migrants to come to Britain. Many of these passengers settled in South London. Aboard were experienced cleaners, labourers, nurses, builders, including one stow-away who was discovered a week into the journey!
Windrush day is very important as it provides an opportunity to say thank you to the people from the Caribbean who helped rebuild Britain after World War 2, often by doing the toughest of jobs: builders, bus drivers, tube drivers, domestic staff and nurses. It is also a day that acknowledges that many of these new arrivals to the UK were not treated in a fair and reasonable way. Many were victims of racism so recently the government has acknowledged that they had treated some of the Windrush generation poorly by saying they were not proper British citizens.
Windrush Day helps us to celebrate the fact that our country is a more vibrant and open society thanks to those brave travelers in 1948. The Windrush generation brought new music, food, culture and ideas that have become part of British culture.
I have been recommended a couple of good YouTube films that may help parents to explain the term racism and the impact that racist behaviour can have. You might want to share them with your children: