Preston campaigners head for London to call for new Windrush Act
Windrush campaigners from Preston will be heading for London on Sunday to join hundreds from across the UK calling for a change of law.
The local group will attend an Emancipation Day rally in Brixton demanding new legislation to bring justice for the Windrush generation and their descendants who had their British citizenship revoked.
Sunday is the anniversary of the 1833 Emancipation Act which outlawed slavery across the British Empire. Almost two centuries on the rally in Max Roach Park in Brixton will support calls for another Act of Parliament to repair the damage done by the Windrush Scandal.
"The Government needs to realise that this is not going away," said Glenda Andrew, who will be leading the contingent from Preston
"People are being impacted by the Windrush Scandal. So we are asking for a Windrush Act.
"We know it's not going to happen overnight, it is going to take time. So if anyone, particularly those who have been affected, want to come along, then there are still seats left on the coach."
The rally will combine assemblies, music, art and protest. Groups from Liverpool and Manchester will join the Preston contingent to add their voice to the campaign for a Windrush Act.
Manchester lawyer Anthony Brown will deliver a statement to Buckingham Palace, addressed to the Queen, urging her to back the call as Head of the Commonwealth.
The campaigners say another Act of Parliament is now needed to restore British citizenship to people from the British Caribbean and their descendants who were settled in the UK and had their citizenship revoked after the former colonies got independence. It was done without them being informed or consulted.
They are also demanding that those affected by the Windrush Scandal receive £10,000 each as reparations for discriminatory legislation which disproportionately targeted them as a result of the Government’s hostile environment policy, on top of compensation for any financial loss.
Anthony Brown, who arrived in the UK from Jamaica as a six-year-old, was threatened with deportation in 1983. He is now taking Home Secretary Priti Patel to court for a judicial review of the Windrush issue.
He said: "A new Act of Parliament is now needed so that all people who were born as either British subjects prior to 1948 or as citizens of the UK and colonies post-1948 and who had been settled in the UK for a period of 5 years by 1 January 1983, should be treated as having continued to be citizens of the UK and colonies throughout this period irrespective of the impact of any independence legislation passed in relation to their countries of origin.
“British citizenship by naturalisation can be revoked and therefore is not equal citizenship. It does not put me back in the position I would have been in had I not been wronged by the Home Office when I was threatened with removal in 1983.
“The Windrush Scheme therefore does not do what was promised; it does not attach the label ‘British Citizen’ as of right to those like myself who, according to the Government, are British in all but name.
“The Windrush Generation were born with the same rights and entitlements as people born in the UK and should not now be subjected to ‘good character’ and/or ‘close ties’ tests in order to be registered as British.
“At the moment there is a very high level of refusals when people apply to the Windrush Scheme for citizenship. The Home Office is still enforcing the 2014 hostile environment law because the laws have not changed.
"People are still losing their jobs, or are unable to take up work, or rent a house if they don't have legal status documents, which many from the Windrush Generation don’t. So, the law needs to change.”
A coach taking the Preston campaigners to London will leave the Jalgos Sports and Social Club at 4:30am on Sunday. To book a seat ring Glenda on 07759 360580.