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75 Years Of Hard Work: Festival To Honour The Legacy Of Windrush Generation


Tuesday 20 June 2023

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is proud to support the Windrush 75 Conference and Festival organised by the National Windrush Museum (NWM) on June 23 and 24. The festival is a two-day celebration of the magnificent contribution the Windrush generation has made to British society over the past 75 years and continue to do so in arts, culture, business and entertainment, to name a few.

The two-day conference titled "Reforming Our Futures" will be held at the Park Plaza Riverside, Radisson Hotel on day one and Art'otel Battersea Power Station on day two in London. The festival celebrates the lived experiences of the Windrush generation and the pivotal role they have played in rebuilding and developing a contemporary, multicultural Great Britain. The festival aims to highlight every aspect of their journey which has not been without struggles.

The conference is expected to see distinguished speakers including Lord Simon Woolley, Dr. Debbie Weekes-Bernard who is the Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, Levi Roots- Jamaican-British businessman, Paulette Simpson who is the CEO of the Voice Newspaper and Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor at the University of West Indies.

Dr Les Johnson, Founder and Chairman of the National Windrush Board said, 

Through Windrush 75 we would like to reignite the conversation on recognising the significance of the Windrush generation to the UK. This festival is not just about giving dignity and respect but also restoring it for those who continue to face prejudice and unequal treatment to this day. 

Despite the hurdles, Black people have changed the fabric of this nation- with their mark on the business landscape and through their influence on arts, culture, food and entertainment. They were the driving force behind the newly created NHS in 1948 and operate hugely successful businesses in 2023. Our festival is forward-looking that recognizes the realities of the present and aspirations of the future. Through joint efforts and cooperation, we can empower our communities which will ultimately lead to prosperity and cultural growth for all.”

Richard Burge, Chief Executive Officer at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said,

London Chamber and the National Windrush Museum are united in a collaborative effort to celebrate the success and contribution of Caribbean people to the UK and to work indefinitely towards removing barriers and struggles that impede their growth in any way. This includes Black businesses and through our Black Business Association, we are dedicated to supporting the effective business activity of Black entrepreneurs and employees that boost entrepreneurship and commerce in the capital.”

Menelik Shillingford, Black Business Association Lead at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said,

“Our partnership with the National Windrush Museum is our commitment and devotion to addressing various systemic inefficiencies and inequalities that exist in London, to ensure it is a hub for equal opportunities for all. As a Black professional, through my work at LCCI and as Chairman of the National Windrush Museum’s Next Gen Council, we would like to demonstrate the investable credibility of Black businesses and significantly influence the governments agenda on racial injustice, discrimination and economic empowerment.”

LCCI’s report on ethnic diversity found out that access to finance is one of the biggest barriers for Black businesses. Black people are also more likely to report negative experiences with banks and financial institutions.

While Black businesses have been perceived to be to be fewer and smaller, there is a clear emergence of innovative Black-led businesses in many growing industries. This is welcome and needs to be mainstream. Yet, ethnic minority led businesses report hurdles such as a disconnection from networks and mainstream business as well as stereotyping which means they are taken less seriously due to their ethnicity. The report suggested that there is still a long way to go in achieving ethnic diversity in the business landscape.

The Windrush 75 Conference provides a platform for individuals and organizations to engage in thought-provoking discussions, network with industry leaders, and explore opportunities for collaboration. It serves as a space for sharing ideas, experiences, and best practices that can shape a more inclusive and prosperous future.

Notes:

  • Windrush 75 is a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in June 1948, and one of the main events to mark this occasion is the Windrush 75 Conference, which will showcase and encapsulate the vibrancy and historical significance of this momentous episode. This event provides an excellent opportunity to support the vision of the National Windrush Museum and the ideal of achieving equal opportunities and diversity.
  • Tickets for the Conference can be purchased on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/windrush-75-international-conference-reforming-our-futurestickets-618430832267
  • The full festival programme can be found here.
  • LCCI’s report on Ethnic Diversity In Business can be read here .