Today is the the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush, which docked at Tilbury Docks in Essex, on 22nd June 1948.
The ship brought the first generation of people from the Caribbean, who came to settle here after being invited to help Britain rebuild and recover following the end of World War II.
Windrush Day was first introduced in 2018, following the 70th anniversary of the Windrush migration, and a longstanding petition and campaign for the day to be celebrated on an annual basis.
An opportunity to reflect and work towards further changes
Ishmael Beckford, a member of the CSP’s (black and minority ethnic) BAME Network and an operations lead for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies at Vita Health Group, said: ‘The BAME Network welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush generation and its descendants to British society.
‘The Caribbean migrants who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1971, although invited to help re-build post war Britain, faced significant discrimination and racism but were still able to thrive and positively impact British society.
Today allows us to reflect on how society has changed for the better, but also brings into focus elements which have, unfortunately, not changed at all.
‘Racism and inequality remain, so there is much to do to continue to build on the foundations laid by the Windrush generation.
Windrush and the NHS
The Windrush generation, and their descendants, have made a lasting contribution to the NHS and the provision of health and social care services in the UK.
CSP member Mel Stewart, a physiotherapy lecturer and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in January this year, in recognition of her substantial work for the BAME community and for older people.
In 2018 she spoke, at a TUC rally, about her personal experiences and the legacy of the Windrush generation’s contribution to the NHS.
A short video of her speech is available to watch here