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71 YEARS AGO, ON 21/06/48 THE EMPIRE WINDRUSH ARRIVED WITH several hundred Caribbeans who disembarked on 22/06/48 at Tilbury Docks in Essex and left the ship to start a new life in Britain.
The UK has declared 22 June as a Commemoration day to celebrate the many contributions the Caribbean community has made to British society and the government will give £500,000 annually to groups and local authorities who want to celebrate Windrush Day and educate communities about the experiences of the Windrush generation who arrived on 21/06/48 .
A memorial, will be erected at Waterloo station, to be seen by “millions” of people annually.
Caribbean people who had served in the British armed forces in the second world war, were encouraged to come to Britain to work and help rebuild war trn Britain.
Its known that the windrush in Britain from the Caribbean generally had their hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their families dashed as they were not treated very well by the british government and society, mainly due to racism and discrimination commonly inflicted upon migrants by the British society, hence many struggled to feel settled, obtain employment , secure decent accomodation to live in, while many children were targeted in school because they looked different from the majority white population.
The British government faced an embarassing situation and widespread criticism in 2018 when several members of the Empire Windrush ship generation were told they were illegals in Britain when they had lived and worked in Britain for the greater part of their lives. However, changes to the UK law required the Windrush generation to have official documents to access certain services in the UK like healthcare, while those unable to provide relevant documentation were sent to immigration detention centres and others were forced to leave Britain.
A total of approximately 12,000 Windrush cases, showed that many of them might have been been wrongfully detained and deported from Britain and several received letters of apology letters from the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The Windrush saga brought to light the extent of the challenges faced by the Windrush generation their children and descendants along with other immigrants from other countries to date, which include, racism, discrimination, hostility, abuse, violation of their rights, jeorpadising of opportunities including education, employment, housing, health care and all else they are entitled to, showing how fragile the bond is between the immigrant community and the local indigenous population. Its fair to say, there is still a lot of work in that area. More news to follow. Sibusiso Ngwenya.
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