Leader of Merton Council reflects on Windrush Day

Councillor Mark Allison and his wife Jenny with a picture of Jenny’s father, Ram.

Commenting on Windrush on 22 June, Mark Allison, Leader of Merton Council, said: ”This year marks 73 years since the first of the Windrush Generation arrived on our shores, ready to help rebuild the country after World War II. I can say with some certainty that my life would be drastically different without the Windrush Generation, as my father-in-law, Ram, was one of the half a million people to make the journey across the Atlantic during the late 40s, 50s and 60s, in his case to work on the buses here in Merton, and then for the NHS.

“Yesterday, I had the honour of visiting the Windrush Day display in Morden Library for the first time since Ram passed away at Christmas. It was a beautiful reminder of just some of the many ways the Windrush Generation and their descendants have contributed to our public services and our culture.

“Windrush Day is rightly a celebration of how our nation has benefitted from brave young people like Ram who came here from the Caribbean. But we should also use this occasion to reflect on the way some people treat migrants, and on the xenophobia and racism people like Ram were forced to face, even though he worked hard for this country all his life. Even recently, some of the Windrush Generation faced the threat of deportation.

“As a Borough of Sanctuary, Merton under my leadership will stand up for the rights of migrants and refugees from around the world who work hard for our local community, and we will fight discrimination wherever we see it.

“Ram’s generation made Merton the great place it is today, and I’d encourage all Merton residents to make good use of the moving and thought-provoking materials that our Heritage Team have put online to mark Windrush Day.”

You can find them by following the links at merton.gov.uk/Memories