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Derby has celebrated the legacy of the Windrush Generation with a day of workshops, presentations and a flag raised by the mayor.

The Britain of over seventy years ago was a profoundly different place to what we know it as today. 

On 21st June, 1948, it faced the biggest wave of non-White immigration in the nation’s history, as almost half a million people from the West Indies were invited over by the British government to work in public service.

The immigrants embarked on this journey with hope for a better life, but upon arrival, they experienced a new reality where they were considered “foreigners” and made to feel as if they did not belong. 

After much struggle, Britain was not only changed by these immigrants, but by their children generations later

On 22nd June, 2022, Derby’s West Indian population came together to honour the legacy of the Windrush Generation.

The celebrations began as a flag bearing the image of the HMT Empire Windrush ship was raised by Mayor Robin Wood in the city centre at noon.

This was followed by workshops and presentations at The Italian Mill, and Windrush stories told at Derby Museum & Art Gallery for the remainder of the day. 

A cake, also decorated with the image of Windrush, was cut and shared among attendees.

George Mighty, Chairman of the Derby West Indian Community Association, said: “It’s wonderful that we as a generation are celebrating the Windrush Generation, who have paved the way for us. 

“Their achievements are our achievements, and I hope that future generations will continue to celebrate this day.”

In recent years, many people who had arrived in the UK as part of the Windrush Generation as children – who had worked British jobs, gone to British schools and lived in the country for decades – faced deportation.

They were denied access to health care, housing and employment. 

The reason for this is the tough immigration rules that were brought forth by former Prime Minister Theresa May

Many among the Windrush Generation never applied for a British passport once they got into the country, because back then, children were allowed to travel on their parent’s passports – but when their parents passed away, the younger members of the Windrush Generation were left with no proof of identity. 

Those affected by the Windrush scandal can seek out free information and support from the Derby West Indian Community Association by calling 01332 371529 or by sending an email to info@dwica.co.uk.

By Christine Ngaya & Jamie Morris

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