Luton commemorates Windrush Day while council leader blasts government's 'shameful' treatment of victims

A crowd gathered outside Luton Town Hall on Tuesday to celebrate the first group of Caribbean migrants who arrived to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War

Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:35 am
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:36 am
A crowd gathers outside the town hall for Windrush Day
A crowd gathers outside the town hall for Windrush Day

Tuesday marked the fourth national Windrush Day - which commemorates the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in this country.

On board the SS Windrush were the first Caribbean migrants to the UK who helped re-build Britain after the ravages of the Second World War.

The flag raising ceremony outside the town hall was organised by Luton Young Leaders Planning Association, who have been supported by the African Caribbean Community Development Forum (ACCDF).

To add to the celebrations, the UK Centre For Carnival Arts (UKCCA) helped decorate the Town Hall balcony with masks and costumes.​

Councillor Hazel Simmons, MBE, said: “Luton, like so many places throughout the UK, has a rich cultural diversity and the town has benefitted immeasurably from this.

"Windrush Day gives us the opportunity to particularly focus on those from an African and Caribbean heritage and remind ourselves of the many ways these communities have enriched us all.

“The historic failings of the UK government towards so many who crossed the seas to come to this country’s aid is both well documented and shameful.

"Here in Luton, we stand by all those who suffered so as well as celebrating the vital role of the Windrush Generation, this day is a timely reminder to us all of the need to speak out against injustice whatever form it takes.”

The Windrush Scandal was a situation created when many of the Windrush Generation suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of immigration legislation because they couldn’t provide the paperwork to prove they had the right to stay in the UK.

Either because they’d never been given any paperwork by previous governments in the first place, or because the government had destroyed their own copies of paperwork and suddenly put the onus on individuals to ‘prove’ their right to stay. Many West Indians have been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights while they struggled to provide the information required by government. Some in the “hostile environment” created by the government policy are still fighting for justice in 2021.