Windrush generation makes our culture richer, says William as monument unveiled

Black men and women are still facing racism and discrimination in modern-day Britain in a nation that would be poorer without the efforts of the Windrush generation, the Duke of Cambridge has said.

William was speaking as he and the Duchess of Cambridge attended the unveiling of a national monument at London’s Waterloo Station to celebrate the dreams and courage of the Windrush generation who came to help Britain rebuild after the Second World War.

The monument is a 12-ft statue – of a man, woman and child in their Sunday best standing on top of suitcases – that was unveiled on Wednesday to mark Windrush Day.

The Duke of Cambridge speaking at the unveiling (John Sibley/PA)

In a speech to those who had gathered for the unveiling, which included Windrush passengers and high-profile members of the black community, William said: “We know without question that the Windrush generation have made our culture richer, our services stronger, and our fellow countrymen safer.”

William also spoke of the Windrush scandal which began to surface in 2017 after it emerged that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens, many of whom were from the Windrush generation, had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights.

He said: “Sadly, that is also the case for members of the Windrush generation who were victims of racism when they arrived here, and discrimination remains an all too familiar experience for black men and women in Britain in 2022.

“Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush scandal. That rightly reverberates throughout the Caribbean community here in the UK as well as many in the Caribbean nations.

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with children at the unveiling (John Sibley/PA)

“Therefore, alongside celebrating the diverse fabric of our families, our communities and our society as a whole – something the Windrush generation has contributed so much to – it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass.

“Diversity is what makes us strong, and it is what reflects the modern, outward-looking values that are so important to our country.”

Next year marks 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948, bringing 500 passengers from the Caribbean.

The Government, which has provided £1 million in funding for the monument, said it “symbolises the courage, commitment and resilience of the thousands of men, women and children who travelled to the UK to start new lives from 1948 to 1971”.

It also acknowledges the Windrush generation’s “outstanding contribution” to British society and is intended to be “a permanent place of reflection”, it added.

The Queen also sent her congratulations on what she described as an “historic occasion”.

In a personal message, she wrote: “The unveiling at Waterloo Station on Windrush Day serves as a fitting thank you to the Windrush pioneers and their descendants, on recognition of the profound contribution they have made to the United Kingdom over the decades.

“It is my hope that the memorial will serve to inspire present and future generations and I send you my warmest good wishes on this historic occasion.”

Waterloo station was chosen because thousands of people who arrived from the Caribbean passed through the station on their way to start their new lives across the country, the Government said.

The unveiling is one of dozens of events and activities across England to celebrate Windrush Day 2022.

It was created by Jamaican artist Basil Watson, who said his monument pays tribute to the “dreams and aspirations, courage and dignity, skills and talents” of the Windrush generation who arrived with “a hope of contributing to a society that they expected would welcome them in return”.

He said: “My parents, along with a great many others, took the long arduous voyage from the Caribbean with very little or nothing other than their aspirations, their courage and a promise of opportunity for advancement.

“This monument tells that story of hope, determination, a strong belief in selves and a vison for the future.”


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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