Today (22 June) marks the third Windrush Day, the 72nd anniversary of the SS Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks in Essex carrying the first Caribbean migrants to the UK.
Many who travelled on the ship, and by other means from various commonwealth countries, were ex-servicemen who fought with the UK in the Second World War and had been invited to a bomb-damaged Britain to fill its labour shortages.
Now a national annual event, Windrush Day was established in 2018 in the wake of the Windrush scandal when many of those who had been invited to Britain found themselves subject to a “hostile environment”, government policies designed to make life difficult for people who couldn’t prove they had the right to live in the UK.
The hostile environment inflicted destitution and encouraged discrimination, and thrives on distrust. It is actively being challenged by the United Reformed Church (URC) through the Joint Public Issues Team’s End Hostility campaign.
Karen Campbell, Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries for the URC offers this prayer:
A Prayer for Windrush
Rush, Spirit, rush…
A mighty voice –
Crying for justice,
Claiming dignity as the birth-right
of each child of God.
Too painful have been the years of betrayal.
Too bitter the sting of repeated rejection
and unfulfilled promises.
Too exhausting the struggle
for belonging and “home”.
Rush, Holy Spirit –
Insistent and strong.
Refuse to be silenced,
Refuse to be ignored,
Until dignity is afforded to each individual
in every generation;
Until life is a gift for every person to live,
rather than a challenge too many must overcome –
And full humanity is affirmed in all.
Rush, Holy Spirit of God. Rush
and hasten change.
© Karen Campbell, 2020
Image: Windrush Scandal protest – from Parliament Square to the Home Office, London on 28 April 2018. Steve Eason/Flickr CC 2.0
Published: 22 June 2020