Schools learn about about Windrush at conference

We hosted a school conference last week (Friday October 7) to help raise young people’s awareness of the Windrush generations and to celebrate the contribution and achievements of people of Caribbean heritage to this country.

The conference, in the Council Chamber at County Hall, was opened by the Chair of Devon County Council Councillor Ian Hall and involved 80 pupils from seven schools.

Students heard from three Devon residents of Caribbean heritage, Nadia Gorton, Euten Lindsay and Dave Samuels.

The speakers explored the history of the Windrush ship, the experiences of people and their families who came to the UK, and the ‘hostile environment’ policy which contributed to the ‘Windrush scandal’.

Dave Samuels told students about the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 to break the ‘colour bar’ which prevented Black and Asian people from working on the buses in Bristol.

This was possibly the first Civil Rights movement in Britain.

Dave said: “For me, sharing my story about non-violent protest is important because this led to anti-discrimination legislation in the areas of employment and housing through the 1965 Race Relations Act. As a result of this, my father became the first Black bus driver in Bristol in 1964.”

A student called Gabriel from Ivybridge Community College said about the day: “It’s been enlightening to hear about the experiences of people who have helped to build Britain.”

Greg, also a student at Ivybridge CC, added: “Understanding diversity teaches us to love and respect everyone and keep an open mind, and to appreciate people who helped to make this world a better place.”

The conference was organised by the Devon Windrush Group, which is part of Devon Development Education.