In today’s episode of the Diverse Minds podcast, I’m joined by Dr Patrick Vernon to talk about Windrush Day. 

The first-ever Windrush Day was celebrated in 2018 on the 22nd of June. It is a special day to remember the first generation of people from the Caribbean, who came over to the UK by invitation to help rebuild Britain after World War Two. 

One of the ships was called Empire Windrush, with over 500 passengers from the Caribbean. It arrived at the Tilbury Docks in Essex on the 21st of June in 1948. Although people were invited by the UK Government, they were met with hostility, prejudice and racism when they arrived. 

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About my guest

Since 2010 Patrick has led the campaign for Windrush Day and in 2018 kick-started the campaign for an amnesty for the Windrush Generation. Following the Windrush Scandal which led to a Government U-turn in immigration policy and the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary. 

Patrick was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work in tackling health inequalities for ethnic minority communities in Britain. In 2018 Patrick was awarded an honorary PhD by Wolverhampton University for his work on migration history and equalities.

Patrick is a Clore and Winston Churchill Fellow, Fellow at Imperial War Museum, a Fellow of Royal Historical Society and former Associate fellow for the Department of History of Medicine at Warwick University. He has over twenty years’ senior experience working across mental health, public health, heritage and race equality and is well known in health, local government and the voluntary sector. 

He is also the creator of The Every Generation Game: Windrush Edition. Created to celebrate and commemorate the Windrush Generation in Britain, marked by national Windrush Day on 22nd June each year. The Windrush Game allows generations young and old to share the stories of their culture and heritage.

In today’s show, we talk about:

  • About Dr Patrick and the work he does.  [03:05]
  • The Majonzi Fund for BAME communities for funerals [18.00] 
  • How Windrush Day came to being and why the 22nd of June was chosen as the day. [19:35]
  • About the New Alliance of BAME Mental Health Therapists and Campaigners. [10:59]
  • How people can get involved in the campaign. [27:44]

Quotes:

  • Due to social distancing, no-one was really allowed to have the proper cultural burial and say goodbye to their loved ones when they pass away.
  • There have been massive cuts in public health investment in our communities over the last 15 years. That’s had an impact on how we have prepared ourselves for any kind of pandemic situation.
  • I’ve been involved in the campaign for the last eleven years for a national Windrush Day. Motivated by the Windrush Generation, but more importantly, the migration contribution to Britain has not been fully valued or recognised by this country.
  • So despite many years of campaigning and lobbying, which fell on deaf ears, the scandal ironically helped to make sure that national Windrush Day was now recognised and officially started last year.
  • They’ve (the UK Government) talked about righting the wrongs, and the wrongs have not been righted. People have not been fully compensated, and there’s a massive backlog of cases.

Resources for Windrush Day: 

Connect with my guest:

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Remember to tune in to next week’s episode, where I’ll bring you more insights into mental health and inclusion.