Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Windrush activists call for protest backing

Published:Friday | June 21, 2019 | 12:38 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

A Manchester, England-based activist group, Windrush Defenders, has earmarked Saturday, June 22, as a Day of Action and is calling for Jamaicans to help spur political dialogue among local politicians on the impact the Windrush scandal is having on Jamaicans in that country.

Group representative Leonie Brown, a Jamaican living in the UK now some 27 years and a law graduate who has helped to form the group, told The Gleaner that the marches are to highlight the continued injustice suffered under the UK government’s “hostile environment”, including the deportation charter flight to Jamaica on February 6, 2019.

“We are saying that before we can celebrate, we have to recognise that it’s still going on in terms of the hurt. People have suffered as a result of this policy, and it has to be fully addressed. We can’t brush it under the carpet by celebrating at this time. Instead, we will march in support of those people who have been hit by this scandal,” she said.

Brown indicated that the Theresa May administration has given different community groups around Britain £500,000 for various projects in honour of the work of the Windrush Generation and has announced a June 22 date for such celebrations.

Windrush Defenders has since joined forces with similar groups around the country.

“What we have done is to take the very same day to say that everyone in these communities should come out for a Day of Action as we raise awareness about the impact this still is having on our community. It is our hope that people in Jamaica will also take up the cause because the majority of those affected came to England from Jamaica,” Brown said.

‘BAME’

The Windrush Day of Action is being coordinated by ‘BAME Lawyers 4 Justice’. BAME is a term used in the UK to denote black, Asian, and minority ethnic peoples.

The marches will take place in London, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester, and Derby.

Brown said that there would also be a launch of a new national organisation structure for Windrush Defenders to give fresh impetus to the ‘Windrush Crusade’ to rectify citizenship and secure compensation and law reform.

“The march to the city centre will ensure that voices are heard to demand justice and put to an end the targeting of Windrush communities, including an end to unjust Home Office treatment, detention, deportation, and denial of human rights,” said Brown.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com