Communities across the country gear up to mark national Windrush Day on June 22
Backed by £500,000, the third national day will celebrate and commemorate the Windrush community
Mix of in-person and virtual events across the country include concerts, exhibitions and programmes for children
The nation will pay tribute to the outstanding contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants this week (Tuesday 22 June), as we mark Windrush Day 2021 with a myriad of community events from musical performances to radio shows, lectures and art installations.
Forty-two projects across the country have been awarded funding to mark Windrush Day, which commemorates the seminal moment when the Empire Windrush arrived at the port of Tilbury 73 years ago.
This year will be the third national Windrush Day, dedicated to honouring, educating and inspiring future generations about the contribution of the Windrush pioneers – a day now firmly established in the national calendar.
An exciting mix of virtual and in-person projects will run throughout the day and in the weeks ahead, in line with current Government guidance. These include:
The Evewright Arts Foundation will host local schoolchildren to explore the new installation at Tilbury Port, including the Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories with images and documents installed on 552 panes of glass representing the lives of Windrush pioneers and descendants.
An exhibition of photography and film celebrating business leaders in the Windrush community in Leeds.
Ipswich Borough Council will host a town centre celebration including a steel band, lectures and an interactive exhibition.
An online lecture by photographer Andrew Jackson: ‘Windrush Day: How do you tell a story that’s never been told?’ hosted by the Birmingham Museums Trust.
An online event hosted by the London Transport Museum as part of their series of ‘Windrush conversations’ inviting the community of Transport for London employees to reflect on the generation’s influence.
A live online broadcast hosted by the Reading Museum in partnership with Reading’s Caribbean community and Barbados Museum and Historical Society, available through their website.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
“The Windrush Generation and their descendants have had – and continue to have – a profound impact on Britain’s social, cultural and economic life. This year the continued contribution of Windrush descendants has been felt as deeply as ever, with British-Caribbean communities coming to the fore to support our nation through their incredible contributions to the NHS, councils and every other part of public life. This Windrush Day I encourage everyone to join in, whether virtually or in person, and enjoy one of the hundreds of fantastic local events taking place across the country.”
The first national Windrush Day took place in 2019, with activities and events up and down the country. Through educational workshops, theatre performances and historical exhibitions communities honoured that landmark day over 70 years ago when the MV Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks.
The national celebration is backed by a £500,000 Windrush Day Grant Scheme overseen by the Windrush Community Funds and Schemes sub-group made up of community and government representatives.
Launched in January 2021, the Windrush Day Grant Scheme received over 200 bids for funding from community groups, charities and local authorities across England. This year’s successful bids show the breadth of enthusiasm in communities across the country to mark Windrush Day 2021, from Bristol to Birmingham and Leicester to Leeds.
The Windrush Generation
Windrush Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury on 22 June 1948. The arrival of the Empire Windrush nearly 73 years ago marked a seminal moment in Britain’s history and has come to represent the rich diversity of this nation.
Those who arrived on the Empire Windrush, their descendants and those who followed them have made and continue to make an enormous contribution to Britain, not just in the vital work of rebuilding the country and public services following WWII but in enriching our shared social, economic, cultural and religious life.
Overcoming great sacrifice and hardship, the Windrush Generation and their descendants have gone on to lead the field across public life, in business, the arts and sport. Britain would be much diminished without their contribution.
The MV Empire Windrush docked at the Port of Tilbury on 21 June 1948. However, passengers disembarked a day later on 22 June 1948 – hence why this has come to be known as Windrush Day.
The national Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station will be a permanent tribute to a generation of arrivals from the Caribbean to Britain – from the arrival of MV Empire Windrush in 1948 and in the decades that followed.
The four artists shortlisted to design the monument are all of Caribbean descent and include world renowned, established and up and coming artists working across the visual arts.
During July and August the public will be encouraged to consider the proposals. The winning design is planned to be revealed during Black History Month in October and the monument is expected to be unveiled on Windrush Day 2022.
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