The Caribbean immigrants were honored Wednesday for their “profound contribution” to the United Kingdom’s recovery post-war.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge led the ceremony at the Waterloo train station in London where the monument called The National Windrush Monument is erected. The statue depicted a man, a woman, and a child standing on suitcases.
“Designed by renowned Jamaican artist Basil Watson and delivered with £1 million funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Monument 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,” said the UK government in a press statement.
In his speech, Prince William highlighted the racism faced by thousands who journeyed to Britain after World War II, and said it still affects their descendants today, the Associated Press reported.
“Discrimination remains an all too familiar experience for Black men and women in Britain in 2022,” said the monarch, who recently turned 40 last June 21.
Prince William said the immigrants who came between 1948 and 1973 to Britain from the colonies were “profoundly wronged” by the government.
“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,” William said.
These immigrants are often referred to as the “Windrush generation” after the ship Empire Windrush that brought the first 500 migrants to British shores in 1948.
Queen Elizabeth in a written message said the new statue was a “fitting thank you to the Windrush pioneers and their descendants, in recognition of the profound contribution they have made to the United Kingdom over the decades.”
What is the Windrush scandal?
The Windrush scandal came up in 2018, which revealed that the migrants from the Caribbean who had lived and worked in the United Kingdom legally were arrested amid the tougher new rules imposed by the government to curb illegal immigration.
Thousands lost their jobs, homes, and even their right to free medical care because most of them didn’t have the proper documents to prove their status in the country.
“Some were detained, and an unknown number were deported to countries they barely remembered,” the Associated Press wrote in the same report.
The government offered compensation, but many have said that it wasn’t enough and the process has been tedious and difficult.
In 2023. the migration of the Windrush generation will mark its 75th year.
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