It is not for us to state the details of the Windrush Act. That is work for legislators. But these are the ways in which we will know it when we see it.
... by the United Kingdom that its past actions have unfairly impacted on people of Afro-Caribbean descent both living in the UK and in its former colonies. It is a recognition that this impact has consequences across all aspects of people’s lives: citizenship, community cohesion, education, criminal justice, work, health. The Windrush Act places a duty on public bodies to reduce race disparities for outcomes in their work, as exposed by the Government’s Race Disparity Audit.
... for the wrongs that were done historically by the UK to people of Afro-Caribbean descent. These wrongs are clearly defined in the Wendy Williams Lessons Learned review, and it is to the righting of these wrongs that the Windrush Act is addressed. This is not to say that there are not similar wrongs done to other cohorts of people that need to be addressed by similar legislation.
This apology is enacted in law so that it is clearly an apology from the nation rather than from some here today, gone tomorrow politician.
.. for past wrongs. The reparation that it seeks is to work with those who are today living with the consequences of those past wrongs. It is reparation that goes beyond mere financial compensation to individuals, but instead provides resources to affected people and communities to support them in what they want to do with their lives. To this end, the Windrush Act will establish a Commonwealth community cohesion fund for the development of projects in the UK and the Commonwealth to tackle disparities and rebuild social and economic ties of communities damaged by the Windrush scandal and other historic unfair actions negatively impacting on this cohort.
Since 1948 the citizenship of those who arrived on the Windrush, and that of their descendants, has been repeatedly eroded, particularly by the 1971 Immigration Act and by the current “hostile environment”. This erosion leaves many within this Afro-Caribbean cohort finding themselves British in all but name, and therefore having to prove their Britishness when it was Britain that eroded and undermined their Britishness in the first place. The Windrush Act fully restores the Britishness of this cohort.
To this day the UK prefers to tell a story about its colonial past that is often unrecognizable to those who lived that past. Only by telling a more honest story about its colonial past can the country show that its citizens of colonial descent are as worthy citizens as any other. The Windrush Act holds the state and its education system to this more honest telling.
The Windrush Act remembers what Great Britain meant to those pioneering men and women who saw in the country a set of ideals and values that led them to board the SS Windrush in 1948.