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Windrush Generation: history, identity and scandal

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The Windrush Scandal

What was (and still is) the Windrush Scandal? The following is a summary from Wikipedia:

“The Windrush scandal is a 2018 British political scandal concerning people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and, in at least 83 cases,[1][2][3] wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office. Many of those affected had been born British subjects and had arrived in the UK before 1973, particularly from Caribbean countries as members of the “Windrush generation[4] (so named after the Empire Windrush, the ship that brought one of the first groups of West Indian migrants to the UK in 1948).[5]

As well as those who were wrongly deported, an unknown number were wrongly detained, lost their jobs or homes, or were denied benefits or medical care to which they were entitled.[3] A number of long-term UK residents were wrongly refused re-entry to the UK, and a larger number were threatened with immediate deportation by the Home Office.

Linked by commentators to the “hostile environment policy” instituted by Theresa May during her time as Home Secretary,[6][7][8] the scandal led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary in April 2018, and the appointment of Sajid Javid as her successor.[9] The scandal also prompted a wider debate about British immigration policy and Home Office practice.

The scandal came to public attention as a result of a campaign mounted by Caribbean diplomats to the UK, British parliamentarians and charities, and an extended series of articles in The Guardian newspaper.[10]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windrush_scandal (captured on 25th Nov 2019)

Perspective from David Lammy

To understand and appreciate the injustice of the scandal there is a worthwhile introduction in the form of a short article by David Lammy MP (4th October 2018), published by the British Library at https://www.bl.uk/windrush/articles/perspectives-on-the-windrush-generation-scandal-a-response-from-david-lammy . Here is a brief excerpt:

“In 2018, on the 70th anniversary of the arrival the Empire Windrush, the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s abhorrent ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, and the 25th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the tragic but incontestable reality is that Britain still has huge progress to make with race relations and migration. The Windrush scandal was more than a unique mistake caused by officials – it was a disgraceful and as yet unresolved display of a toxic and racist undercurrent driven by public alarm over immigration.”

Read full article at https://firstcutmedia.com/heritage-digital-archive/lammy-windrush-generation-scandal/


Full David Lammy article
First Cut project gallery
Windrush and early settlers gallery

Windrush Project by First Cut Media

In co-operation with the Windrush Crusade initiative, the African Caribbean Heritage Digital Archive project has filmed new oral history interviews of people affected by the Windrush Scandal. The interview questions were organised according to the subject areas of the UK Race Disparity Audit 2017 (Community, Education, Employment, Housing, Crime and policing, Criminal Justice System, Health).

The interviews will start an on-line collection of Windrush generation testimonies of their experiences coming to the UK and how their rights as UK citizens have been eroded.


Winston Carrington – Winston came to Britain from Barbados in 1958. He talks about the high quality of education he received back in Barbados and how the school system here in Britain failed him. He talks about the battle to settle, confronting racism and discrimination. He talks about the care from his mother and how he seeks strength and encouragement from the elder men of the Moss Side’s Black community. He talks about his success as a film maker but raises concerns about the challenges faced by today’s youth and how leaving the European Union will bring difficult challenges for the Black people of Britain.

Faye Bruce – Faye was born in Chorlton from a migrant family from Jamaica and is now a senior manager in the NHS. Faye talks about her early life growing up, how the stereotypical assessment of black children in the school system had a negative impact on her. She talks about her experiences when she first entered the NHS as trainee nurse, the lack of support from both staff and senior management and about her determination to succeed. Now a senior manager, she is actively working to implement changes in the Health Service and also acting as role model for black women entering the nursing sector.

Councillor Whit Stennett – Whit talks about the negative treatment of the Caribbean War Veterans at the end of World War II and how many of them wanted to stay in Britain but were sent back against their will. He talks about the continued struggles with racism even in today’s Britain and how we must continue the fight for equality and justice and the importance of preserving our culture. He talks about the scandalous way in which the Government has treated the Windrush generation and the impact it has had on the black communities. He raises concerns about the implications of leaving the EU and the impact it might have on black people here and in the Commonwealth countries.

Roshel Waite – Roshel is a law student, she talks about racism and bullying and how somethings have not changed to help black youths to strive and how the Windrush Scandal has affected her, which led her to join the Windrush Crusade in fighting for justice and compensation and how we must take action to force changes in Government.

Anthony Brown – Anthony is a Lawyer, political activist and campaigner, Anthony talked about his experiences of being served a deportation order in the early 1990s and how the community of Moss Side campaigned in his support to have it reversed. He talked about his work as a campaigner advising and supporting people faced with deportation and how in the light of the Windrush scandal he has set up and heads the Windrush Crusade group who are campaigning for justice, compensation and a change in immigration laws. He talked about the barriers faced by young black people and the institutional racism that still exists, how we must organise and challenge the laws that allow the continuation of injustices we face every day.

Mike Shaft – Mike Shaft has been a radio DJ for over 2 decades, a presenter and writer. Mike talks about the racism he faced when arriving from Grenada in 1968 and and how his dream of joining the RAF was quickly squashed, despite passing all the required tests he was still refused entry. He talks about facing the same racism when he tried for a job with Piccadilly Radio in Manchester as a DJ and how he overcame those barriers to become the first Black DJ on Piccadilly Radio, a job he still has today. He talked about his part in tackling racial injustices in society.

Martin Forde QC – Martin was appointed by the Government to oversee the Windrush compensation schemes, he talked about the challenges ahead and the legal process of how to claim compensation, who can claim, guidelines about individual claims and circumstances, the communities coordinated approach, where to seek legal advice before applying.

Tom Nelson – Tom is a Trustee at the West Indian Sports and Social Club in Moss Side. Tom talks about the freedom of growing up in Jamaica and arriving in Manchester in 1962 to find a totally contrasted way of life, racism, lack of opportunities and low achievements for black people. He talks about his own struggles to elevate himself, now a manager with the Manchester Adult Education Service, he talks about his commitment to supporting people of the Windrush generation to have a better future. He talks about the introduction of University fees how it has affected disadvantaged people and how the community must come together to build an economic base to secure the future of young black people. He talks about organising community and national forums to challenge the Government’s Disparity Order, medical insurance to be paid for by the Government to all returnee residents of the Windrush Generation, better funding to support grassroot organisations, education, training and employment.

Dr. Lance Lewis – Lance talks about growing up in the care system and the effect it had on him, the loss of identity, the racism and abuse he endured. He talks about what gave him the inspiration to take on the challenges he faced and succeed. He talks about his accomplishment in combat sports and becoming a master.He talks about his contributions to helping black children to achieving their goals, including his involvement with the series of conferences, Education of the Black Child in Manchester 1992 to 1997.

Hyacinth Naylor – Hyacinth came to Britain from Jamaica at the age of 14 and worked in the NHS and other care services until her recent retirement. Hyacinth explains that she has never left the country in all that time, but when she was invited by her sister to visit Tobago on her return she was refused re-entry. She explains the horror, farce, distress and betrayal and how it has affected her children and family. She talks about her 9 months ordeal before being allowed to return and how we must work together to avoid anything like this happening in the future.

Rose Henry of Jamaican heritage but born in Manchester. Rose talks about her experiences of growing up in Moss Side with her migrant parents from Jamaica, having a strong mother figure who has guided and supported her, the strong men and women who were her role models in the community and how she was inspired by their courage and hard work to make the community a better place.