Friday, June 23, 2023

Britain commemorates the 'Windrush' immigration wave's arrival 75 years ago

 LONDON: During the nation's celebration of the 75th anniversary of the first Caribbean migrants arriving after World War II, Prince William said that Britain was a better place because of the "Windrush generation."

The first of the hundreds of thousands of people who came to Britain between 1948 and 1971 to help rebuild the country after the war arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex, east of London, on June 22, 1948. Church services, processions, and exhibitions honoring the "Windrush generation's" cultural impact will be held nationwide and in London to mark the anniversary, beginning at the Tilbury Docks.

In a video message, Prince William, King Charles' eldest son and heir, stated, "Their contributions to Britain cannot be overstated."

"Because the children and grandchildren of those who arrived in 1948 have stayed and become a part of who we are in 2023, we are a better people today. We are forever grateful for that."

The prejudices that the Windrush immigrants and their descendants had to overcome will also be acknowledged at many of the events.

The Windrush, a German-built ship that the British captured as a war prize and renamed after an English river, was where the Windrush's passengers spent their first nights in London. They slept in a shelter below Clapham South underground station.

After that, they got jobs in the National Health Service or on public transportation, but many of them were the victims of racism, and discrimination still exists in some areas of life today.

After a tightening of immigration policy in 2018 resulted in thousands of people being denied basic rights despite having lived in Britain for decades and dozens being wrongly deported, Britain issued an apology for its "appalling" treatment of the Windrush generation.

The 75th anniversary, according to the event's organizers, was seen as a time to remember that wrongdoing and celebrate the migrants' contribution to British society.

William stated, "We are aware that they experienced difficulties." But they were also happy; and their families' lives were indeed altered."

As part of the celebrations, his father has commissioned ten portraits of ten members of the Windrush generation. Later this year, these will be displayed at Buckingham Palace.

The monarch stated, "I believe it is vitally important that we truly see and hear these pioneers who stepped off the Empire Windrush at Tilbury in June 1948."

The king will attend services at Windsor Castle and Southwark Cathedral in London, as well as a procession in Brixton, the south London neighborhood where many of the migrants settled.

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