Amelia Gentleman talks Windrush
Last Thursday, our Third Form (Year 9) was visited by one of The Guardian’s most influential journalists and writers, Amelia Gentleman. She has won an Amnesty award, the Cudlipp Award, the London Press Club Print Journalist of the Year for Campaign of the Year at the 2019 National Press Awards and the Paul Foot award all for her investigations into the Windrush scandal.
To kick off Black History Month, she spoke to the pupils about the Windrush scandal and the impacts it had on thousands of legal immigrants and citizens of England.
The scandal affected the generation of immigrants moving from Jamaica and other Commonwealth countries to England from 1949-1973. When initially arriving in England, the Home Office did not give them any official paperwork confirming they were British citizens. This had no discernible consequences until 2012 when Theresa May brought into force the Hostile Environment Policy, requiring all landlords and employers to produce paperwork from their employees and tenants confirming they were British citizens.
Ms. Gentleman highlighted some of the victims of the scandal, and the life-changing effect it had on them. One very unfortunate man lost his job and became homeless, whilst another woman whom she interviewed almost got deported; many ended up in much worse predicaments and got deported back to the country they had lived in so many years ago. One English citizen, after holidaying in Jamaica, wasn’t allowed back into England, and only got accepted back after 18 months.
Ms. Gentleman’s tenacious and highly exposing investigations and articles ultimately led to a government-created compensation scheme to redeem the victims of the scandal, giving them up to a £1 million each. Sadly, however, some died before even being able to receive this compensation.
Many thanks to Amelia for speaking to the pupils about Windrush and her new book The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment.
Ms. Gentleman highlighted some of the victims of the scandal, and the life-changing effect it had on them.