Innovative Trials are passionate about ensuring our diverse population is adequately represented within medical research. Whether it is wanting to see more people from underrepresented communities choosing science as a career and pushing for greater patient diversity in clinical trials or focusing on what we are doing internally to celebrate and promote equality and diversity.  So far in 2022, we have explored: Cervical CancerWorld Cancer Day Eating Disorders and World Blood Donor Day. Today, Innovative Trails’ Equality & Diversity committee would like to celebrate Windrush Day.

What is Windrush Day?

Windrush Day was first celebrated in 2018 and takes place on 22 June each year to mark the anniversary of the arrival of Her Majesty’s Transport (HMT) Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948. The ship was carrying 1,027 passengers, 802 of whom gave their last country of residence as somewhere in the Caribbean; additional documented countries of residence are India, Pakistan, Kenya and South Africa (Stokes, 2020). This day is to celebrate this incredible generation that helped to build the United Kingdom back to restoration after WWII. 

Who were the Windrush Generation? 

Following WWII, the UK was in urgent need of repair. The Windrush Generation came over, largely from the Caribbean, to undertake a variety of jobs with the purpose of rebuilding the nation in return they were promised citizenship and a means to a ‘better life’. 

These jobs included: 

  • Production of steel, coal, iron, food
  • Public transport 
  • National Health Service (NHS).

Windrush Day also shines a light on how the Windrush Generation laid the foundations for the Black British society we know today.

So what happened? 

The Windrush scandal broke in 2018 where people were unfairly detained (McCann et al.) or wrongly deported (McCann et al.) and the majority of them were from the Windrush Generation. Some commentators linked this issue with at the time (2014) Home Secretary and government Policy of “We can deport first and hear appeals later” (Simons, 2022)  and to “create a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants

Despite living in the UK all their life many children of the Windrush Generation were told they needed to provide paperwork to prove their citizenship or they would be deported. Majority of people couldn’t prove it, either because they had never been given citizenship or because the Government had allegedly destroyed their own copies of paperwork that proved citizenship. (”, 2020) Suddenly the onus was on individuals to ‘prove’ their right to stay, despite being told they were part of the British Colony under the Commonwealth. 

Many people were wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights while they struggled to provide the information required by the Government. 

Some are still fighting for justice.