Mar 8, 2017
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A fitting way to celebrate our immigrant population

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Isn’t it time we had a public holiday to celebrate the contributions of black, Asian and other minority communities to Britain over the last 60 years? The call for a Windrush Day emulates a long-running US campaign for a public holiday recognising ­diversity and cultural identity, with Martin Luther King, Jr Day finally becoming a reality in 1986.

We should choose 22 June, the day when the MV Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in 1948: a powerful and iconic symbol of the rise of modern-day multicultural Britain. The Windrush is not simply a symbol of the 492 Caribbean men and women who arrived on that ship – the first big group of postwar immigrants from the West Indies – but of everyone who came from the Empire; British subjects who saw Britain as their mother country. The seeds of modern ­migration were sown in these former colonies, from which 2.5 million men and women ­volunteered to fight fascism ­during the second world war.

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