Southampton celebrates Windrush Day 2023

On 22 June, members of our Southampton District branch held an event to commemorate the incredible contribution of members of the Windrush generation to our communities.

Southampton District UNISON branch was proud to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush to these shores on 22 June 1948 by organising a series of commemorative events at Southampton Civic Centre.

We were honoured to be supported in this by the Lord Mayor and her deputy, UNISON Branch committee member Sheriff Dave Shields.

Southampton Mayor with a Windrush flag

We were especially honoured by the presence of Southampton members of the Windrush generation – all of whom were proud, active trade unionists during their working lives.

6 members of the Windrush generation

Windrush Day should be a day of celebration. Unfortunately, the fight against racism still isn’t over. As the Windrush generation continues to fight for justice, UNISON will support them every step of the way.

With a massive thanks to Gwen Gordon the Southampton District branch administrator for organising the day’s programme, as well as joint brach Black members officers Orpah Moyce and Larry Kazingizi.

The Windrush Came (poem written by Jenny Gordon)

They stole us by chains
Then the Windrush came
A plea from the Queen you see
Workers are needed as mother country is struggling
A plea from afar so my people heeded

And so the journey started
The Windrush Generation
Not knowing was to be expected
As families were disrupted
And parents departed to our mother country
The Windrush started

And what a day when the ships sailed in
with hundreds of workers
The journey started
To the streets they thought that was paved in gold

Apprehension, elation, great expectation
for the opportunity to travel to the mother country
No one could foresee the writing on the wall
No Irish, no dogs, no blacks
And here they were without a home
In a cold foreign country

Look how far we’ve come
It was our loved ones who bore the pain
They were shunned and shamed and spat upon
and called names and resented
But still others came looking for a better life
in our mother country

Those days were long and hard
But still they battled on.
Through turmoil and determination
To keep the promise
To our mother country

Find out more about Windrush day