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.