This statement has been written by Professor Anthony Reddie and is endorsed by the Inclusive Church board of trustees.
While there has been a Black presence in Britain since the time of the Romans, the bulk of the multicultural Black presence in Britain can be traced to a phenomenon called the Windrush. This term emanates from a pivotal event on the 22nd June 1948, when 492 people from the Caribbean arrived at Tilbury docks on the SS. Empire Windrush. These post-war pioneers ushered in a wave of Black migration to Britain from the Caribbean, which (for the most part) forms the basis for African Caribbean communities in Britain today.
The Windrush generation refers to the people from the Caribbean islands who came to Britain between 1948 and 1971, when approximately half a million Caribbean people largely of African descent made this momentous journey. One of the gifts bequeathed to us by the Windrush has been the development of Black Christianity in Britain. The Windrush helped to create communities of Black Christians in a variety of churches in the UK, be they in White majority, historic churches like Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed and Adventist, or Black Majority Pentecostal and Holiness churches, such New Testament Church of God, Church of God of Prophecy, Assemblies of God, Wesleyan Holiness, etc.
One of the key characteristics of the faith of the Windrush generation is that it has created the bedrock for the faith-based approach to fighting for social justice in post-war Britain. This commitment to social change has been undertaken on the firm belief that the security of “everlasting life” meant such activists felt they had nothing to lose in fighting for justice in the “here and now.” Black Christians in the wake of the Windrush have offered either implicit or explicit models of Black self-affirmation and identity in the continuing struggle against racism and White supremacy in the British context.
The loyality of the Windrush generation and all that they have given to this nation, in economic, social and cultural life has been repaid with clearly racist policies that take no account of their basic humanity. This community, my community, deserves better and it is my hope that all citizens of this nation will resist the racist actions of this government.