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My perspective on Windrush: the tapestry of culture that has grown from adversity

Category: inclusive employer, Diversity & Inclusion, Capita, Cultural Inclusion, immigration, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, Racism and discrimination, Black Employee Network, Empire Windrush, Windrush generation, Caribbean migrants, Global organisation, multi-cultural Britain, Windrush Scheme


My perspective on Windrush: the tapestry of culture that has grown from adversity – Marcel DJ


The Empire Windrush landed in Britain on 22 June 1948 to fanfare and bated breath. Little did many know that the arrival of 492 Caribbean passengers would be the beginning of a great change for the UK and the people that would henceforth call it home.

The Windrush generation faced numerous and unprecedented hurdles both on arrival and for many years afterwards. The racism, the cold reception from landlords, the lack of job opportunities and the immigration issues that still exist to this day are just some of the horrendous obstacles they’ve had to overcome. What was particularly unfair was the burden placed on individuals to prove their residency, and the reality that many were deported or denied their rights. At Capita, we are open about our involvement in this shameful episode - we published an apology last year and remain resolute in supporting our colleagues.

But I want to talk today about how I feel about Windrush – and that is to see some of the positive amid the adversity – particularly: the richness that is our evolving culture in the UK. The country is today a very different place from what it was in 1948. We are a melting pot of people, language, food, music and tradition, and the Caribbean migrants who came as the Windrush generation are a huge part of that.

As the lead Diversity & Inclusion Consultant for Capita Group, my job is to help make us the most inclusive employer we can be, and I feel privileged to work every day with such a wealth of diverse and inspiring people. We know we still have a lot of work to do to combat racism and inequity, but I am immensely proud of both Embrace, our employee network for race and ethnicity, and the sub-chapter that is our Black Employee Network. These groups are owned and run by an incredible collection of people who are truly delivering change.

In addition to the work of our employee networks, as a global organisation, we have publicly and internally shared three commitments that not only tackle the issues of racism, inclusion and belonging but aim to redress the imbalance that many of our Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues face within their working career. You can read more about what these commitments are and the progress we’ve made so far here.

We’re proud of the work we do at Capita and the people who are striving to help us become a better organisation; and the truth is that a lot of those people might not be proud British citizens had it not been for Windrush. So, while I deplore the suffering that many in these communities have gone through since their arrival in the UK, I personally, am grateful to have the diverse and multi-cultural Britain we have today – and with the support of Capita, I’ll keep working to make it a fairer one.

If you are affected by any of the issues above or require support with a Windrush related issue, please follow this link to the Windrush Scheme

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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