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Windrush Day honours a wronged generation, but the government’s celebrations feel hypocritical

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Hollie Richardson
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Windrush Day

Theresa May shared a message on Windrush Day 2019, but people are calling it hypocritical. 

Today (22 June) marks the inaugural Windrush Day, to remember and pay respect to a generation that helped shape Britain 71 years ago.

In 1948, hundreds of Caribbean passengers boarded the Empire Windrush ship and travelled to the UK, with many more following after them. They had been asked to help rebuild Britain after the destruction of World War II, and their contributions proved to be invaluable.

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The forgotten women of the Windrush scandal

However, the Guardian exposed the Windrush scandal in 2018, which showed that thousands of people who had arrived legally in the UK in the 50s and 60s were wrongly categorised as illegal immigrants by the Home Office. This led to wrongful deportations, threats of deportation, denied benefits and healthcare, and the loss of some homes.

This explains the mixed views on Windrush Day. Yes, we need to celebrate the Windrush generation, but for many it feels hypocritical for the government to do so amid their own shameful actions.

Windrush scandal protest
Windrush scandal: protests took place after news broke of how the government treated the Windrush generation

Theresa May, who was prime minister during the scandal, shared a video on Twitter honouring the people of Windrush. She also announced that a £1 million “lasting, fitting tribute” memorial statue will be erected in Waterloo. 

Many people have responded by calling May a “hypocrite”. One writer, Gena-mour Barrett, tweeted: “Am I having a stroke or did Theresa May actually tweet about the Windrush generation ‘always having a home’ in the very country she deported them from?”

But away from the frustrations over the government’s hypocrisy, people are sharing their Windrush stories and taking part in services, events and parties across the country. You can take a look at what’s happening in London here.

These are just a few of the stories shared on Twitter:

“Yesterday my grandma Curlyn received a Windrush civic award for her services to nursing. She came from Jamaica, raised a successful family and had an incredible career in midwifery. A true matriarch. So unbelievably proud. #WindrushDay2019,” shared one person.

“Sharing a pic of my JA grandmother #WindrushDay2019 - She’d turn in her grave to see what’s happening to #windrushgeneration & #NHS @NHSMillion #savetheNHS - This photo was taken for a newspaper, my Nan was a nurse, she saved this patients life. #thegoodimmigrant,” added another.

“Because of them, we are. I’m grateful to my parents, aunts and uncles and all those who came from the West Indies to build their lives here. #WindrushDay2019 #Windrush #Diaspora #Windrushlegacy,” wrote a third.

Although the scandal is far from over, seeing such support for Windrush Day gives hope that people will get the justice they deserve. 

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Images: Getty

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Hollie Richardson

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