The Nottingham Windrush Day Ceremony took place last night (Monday 22nd June) to mark the second national Windrush Day, remembering the transformative contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants to the UK. Members of the Windrush Generation, as well as civic, community and faith leaders from across the city gathered on the steps of the Nottingham’s Council House to share memories, reflections and encouragements. The Windrush flag was also unfurled to reveal the words ‘Standing on their shoulders’, a reference in particular to those Caribbean people who arrived at Tilbury Docks, Essex on 22nd June 1948 having travelled on the ship MV Empire Windrush. They were part of the Caribbean pioneers who settled in the UK between 1945 and 1973, helping to rebuild Britain after World War II, laying future economic, religious, social, and political foundations for generations to come.
As an acknowledgement of the Windrush Generation’s contribution to the city, the Council House was lit up in green for the evening. The occasion was hosted by Clive Foster, Senior Minster of Pilgrim Church Nottingham, and the other speakers included the Leader of the City Council, Councillor David Mellen, Deputy Lieutenant Veronica Pickering, Chief Constable Craig Guildford, and those who were part of the Windrush Generation in Nottingham. Speaking on behalf of the 300 churches across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams also addressed the gathering, saying:-
‘I count it an honour to share in marking today’s celebration of the Windrush Generation and their enormous contribution to British society. I also want to express my own lament for the racism they suffered and to state publicly my commitment to pray and work for justice. That includes lamenting the failings of the Church of England to provide the welcome to the Windrush Generation that should have reflected the Kingdom of God or to address the structural racism that has for too long infected our society including the Church of England.
As a bishop, I am listening, I am learning, ready to hear painful and uncomfortable truths about present failures, and I am determined, with my sisters and brothers here today, to be part of the change that will create a more equal
and just society for everyone. God’s justice demands this and Jesus’ love and power can make this possible. For all things are possible with God.’
Speaking after the event, the Archdeacon of Nottingham, the Venerable Phil Williams said‘ It was a privilege to celebrate the Windrush Generation who came to Nottingham and contributed to life in local factories, hospitals and on our transport system. May we continue to celebrate our multi-cultural and multi-ethnic diversity.’
Due to the government guidelines the ceremony was not advertised as a public gathering only those speaking were asked to attend to support the occasion.