Opinion

Floella Benjamin wants to 'give hope' for the future with Windrush edition

Trinidadian-British actress, author, television presenter, singer, businesswoman and politician Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE guest edits our Windrush generation edition.

I am honoured to be the guest editor of The Big Issue to highlight the story of the Windrush generation and to give hope to future generations. We are on the threshold of the very first official Windrush Day and I am so thrilled and happy to have reached this milestone in British history. 

The mass migration of people from the West Indies changed the face of Britain and it came at a great price for the Caribbean pioneers who made the journey. 

I am very much part of the Windrush generation because I came to Britain as a 10-year-old in 1960 from Trinidad.

Many of my childhood experiences in that new culture and unbelievably hostile environment gave me the determination and resilience to become the woman I am now.

For years in Parliament I had been suggesting a Windrush Day but my proposals were rejected on the grounds that we already had a Black History Month.

I argued that this was missing the point, because the arrival of the Empire Windrush in Tilbury [in Essex] in 1948 marked a turning point.

Caribbeans came here to help rebuild Britain, including working in the newly created NHS. So for those who had to overcome so much adversity, it has great significance. 

I am delighted that the government has announced that  June 22 will now be an annual Windrush Day.

Furthermore the Prime Minister, Theresa May, asked me to chair a Windrush Commemoration Committee, to create a permanent and significant monument as a legacy to the Windrush generation.

On the first official Windrush Day I will be announcing where it will be located.

@FloellaBenjamin

Read the rest of the Floella Benjamin OBE’s editorial in the Big Issue, available from your local vendor until Sunday.

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