Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources, has been named the lead Member for the Council’s response to the Windrush scandal.
Mayor Philip Glanville has agreed today to place the Windrush issue in the portfolios of Cllr Carole Williams as Hackney Council cabinet member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources. It is thought to be the first time such a portfolio has been given in local government.
Cllr Carole Williams – with a message!
“It’s so important that we give priority to this concern. We need to make sure that all those who have been affected by the passports mess are compensated. That includes those other members of families who have been indirectly affected by the stress and anxiety of a relative being forced to leave the country, or not being allowed back in.
“The community fought hard for this compensation fund – in spite of the Government dragging its feet and making excuses and playing a blame game. We need to make sure however we can, that the community does get compensation – although no compensation could possibly match the huge loss of a loved one in some cases.
“I have been working hard with others already on preparations for Windrush Day on Saturday and we have a full on programme of events in Hackney at the moment.”
She added: “This additional Cabinet duty, allocated in the week before the second national Windrush Day, formalises the work that I have been doing since last summer to deliver on the actions arising from the Windrush motion, and a recognition of the importance of this strand of work on our equalities and integrated communities programme.
“It demonstrates the Council’s ongoing commitment to campaign to bring an end to the Government’s hostile environment policies, to celebrate the historical contribution of migrant communities, and makes Hackney Council the first in the country to formally include Windrush in cabinet portfolio.
“I plan to use the next twelve months to continue to raise awareness of the compensation scheme to increase the number of Hackney residents who might otherwise miss out, to ensure that the council puts procedures in place to protect residents at risk and who may have lost their homes or their jobs and, to ensure we build on the success of this year’s extensive Windrush programme.”
At 7 a.m. today a ship the Empire Windrush berthed at Tilbury with 417 “Sons of the Empire” on board. After returning to their home land after the war, these Jamaicans found many unemployed in the island, and they hope to find the answer in England. Although there will be countless difficulties It is understood that every effort is being made to find accommodation for them , and to find them work.
It is understood that 52 are volunteering for the forced and 204 are going to friends in this country.
22 June 1948
On Saturday 22 June 2019, Hackney will celebrate the second annual Windrush Day with a Caribbean Tea Party at Stoke Newington Town Hall. The event is just the latest in a year-long programme of activity organised by the Council, and which builds on the first year of the official celebrations.
Carole says: “Myself, and my Council colleagues, believe it’s so important to mark and honour the contribution of the Windrush generation and the contribution of migrant communities more broadly.
Hackney has a long-cherished history of being a destination for new arrivals in the UK, making it the special place it is today. About 8% of Hackney’s population is of African and Caribbean ethnicity and it’s believed to be home to hundreds, if not thousands, of the Windrush generation who came from other Commonwealth countries across the globe.
This community has been fundamental to shaping Hackney in every way, from dedication to public services and civic life, business innovation and growth, and creating jobs and opportunities, to cuisine, art and culture, and bustling high streets and town centres.
We celebrate our migrant communities who contribute a huge amount to the borough and are at the heart of its cultural identity. The current programme of activities that are part of Hackney’s Windrush celebrations have been born out of a set of unique circumstances that started with the HM Empire Windrush setting sail from the Caribbean and arriving in Tilbury Dock more than 70 years ago.
It includes the Government’s hostile environment policies and the impact on some members of a generation who had been invited to work in Britain following the Second World War. Brining it right up to date, it also includes Hackney Council passing the country’s first comprehensive motion on Windrush.
The motion was deliberately written to include two important strands – the desire to celebrate the contribution of migrant communities and to support those that have had their identities, sense of belonging, and place in the world called into question in the most unjust manner. We need to make clear that here, in Hackney, everyone is welcome and valued, and we will always stand up for them wherever they are from.
The second strand of the motion set out to address the injustices of immigration policies that incorrectly identified citizens and residents of the UK, as illegal immigrants. By accepting this motion, Members agreed that the Council should call on the Government to reverse its hostile environment policies, to hold a public inquiry, and to learn lessons so that a similar situation cannot arise in the future for other migrant communities in the near or distant future.
Hackney’s first Windrush celebrations were held in 2018. This year we have a much more extensive programme, which has included two intergenerational baking days, cricket workshops, and a family fun day. Following Saturday’s tea party there will be more events running up to the Hackney Carnival on 8 September.
Carol added: “We have produced a cookbook containing recipes, comments and memories of settling into your new home halfway around the world. This cookbook will be distributed to those will be attending the Windrush Tea Party and it is dedicated to those who disembarked from HM Empire Windrush at Tilbury Dock on 22 June 1948 as well as those who arrived after, whether on ships or on airplanes. It is also dedicated to their descendants.
“I hope that you join our celebrations and enjoy this year’s programme of activities that will continue over the summer.”
Visit the Council’s Windrush webpage for information on how the Council has been campaigning for more support for victims of the Windrush scandal, advice for undocumented migrants, and information on the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
Last August, Cllr Williams tabled a Council Motion calling for more support for victims of the Windrush scandal, an independent inquiry and an end to ‘Hostile Environment’ policies – the first comprehensive Windrush motion in the country – and in October she led on the Council’s submission to the compensation scheme consultation.