National Windrush Day 2020
Windrush Day falls on Monday 22nd June, which provides an excellent opportunity for the service to celebrate this vital chapter in the story of our country’s diversity.
On June 22nd 1948, the ship HMT Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury docks in East London bringing over 1000 people. Based on the name of the ship, this first wave of migration became known as the Windrush generation and over half a million people came to the UK to provide much needed skills and labour following World War II. The United Kingdom government’s plea to the commonwealth countries to help fill a skills gap saw an influx of people from the Caribbean immigrate to England with many people (mostly women) working for the National Health Service (NHS).
While the Windrush Generation and their descendants are today honoured for their immense contributions to British society following the Second World War, many people faced extreme racism, prejudice and intolerance on their arrival. An issue that continued to occur and recent events have shown, racism and inequality still exists.
Although the UK is a developed nation with robust equality legislation and legal system, discrimination and inequality still exists in our society. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has reinforced this ongoing battle where black people and wider ethnic minority continue to face challenges, sometimes on a daily basis.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to acknowledge that so many NHS staff come from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background and we would like to encourage staff to take a moment at 10:26am on Sunday 21st 2020 to acknowledge the ongoing challenges black and other ethnic minority face each day.
On the day itself, ‘The Voice’ online will be hosting an official ‘Windrush Day 2020: Ways to celebrate at home’ page. To access, visit the Voice online website (opens in new window)
As a service, we would like to ask all staff, volunteers and partners to continue embracing diversity and promoting inclusion. We would like to ask that all people should challenge racism, avoid prejudging others and read some literature that the service will provide in the comings weeks and months to educate ourselves where the unconscious thoughts become conscious.
In the build up and during Black History Month in October, the service will be developed an educational programme to raise awareness of race equality issues and help staff to be better position to understand racism and the inequalities faced by BAME communities.
The service recently established a new BAME staff Network and this will enable the service to focus in more detail on race equality. Any staff or volunteers that would like to learn more about the Windrush era or BAME network, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.