Hackney Council has become the first local authority in the UK to pass a motion regarding the Windrush Generation, pledging to oppose the criminalisation of Windrush families, celebrate annual Windrush Day and press central Government for a public enquiry into the recent scandal.
Cllr Carole Williams proposed the following motions at a full Council Meeting:
Continue actively campaigning for an end to all ‘hostile environment’ policy measures and to continue to call on the Government to enable the Windrush generation to acquire British citizenship at no cost and with proactive assistance throughout the process
Lead the way, by celebrating an annual Windrush Day in Hackney and for Hackney to welcome the government’s announcement to make 22 June each year an annual celebration of recognise and honour the enormous contribution of those who arrived between 1948 and 1971
Press the Prime Minister to call for an independent public enquiry into the Windrush scandal
Demand the Government fully supports advice agencies in their work to achieve justice for all Hackney residents of the Windrush generation
Review the Council’s own policies and procedures to ensure we support those affected,
Support the call for fees for naturalisation to be waived for all those who have been affected, and
Oppose the criminalisation of Windrush families.
Cllr Williams listed the achievements of people from the Windrush generation who arrived in Britain between 1948-1971, including their contribution to the NHS
“With the arrival of the HMS Empire Windrush and other ships, came nurses who worked and contributed to the success of the NHS since its inception.”“The government reached out to commonwealth countries, asking its citizens to come to help rebuild following the devastation of the war. Many responded to the call from the ‘mother country’.”“They experienced the colour bar when looking for a room to rent and often encountered signs that read, ‘no blacks, no coloureds, no Irish’. But, despite that, they made Britain their home.”“We can all be proud that Hackney Council is a welcoming borough, that we celebrate diversity, that we marked the 70th anniversary of Windrush Day 2018 with a reception in the Speaker’s Parlour, and that we have committed to continue to celebrate Windrush Day each year.”-Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources
Cllr Williams also paid tribute to the hard work of Hackney resident, former councillor and social commentator, Patrick Vernon. Cllr Williams quoted Mr Vernon:
“The Government needs a plan of action to bring those who have been deported wrongly back – and provide proper compensation to all those who have been wronged.”“About 8% of the borough’s population is of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity and, though the Council does not have precise figures, it is believed the borough is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of the Windrush generation, and many more come from other Commonwealth countries across the globe.”–Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources