University of Leicester students unveil Windrush mural at David Wilson Library

A mural commissioned by University of Leicester students to commemorate the Windrush Generation was unveiled on Friday (16 February).

The students, from Leicester Law School, have been providing free legal advice Leicester residents from the Commonwealth to apply for the UK Government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme.

Designed by 19-year-old artist, Nadir, from the Leicester-based company Graffwerk, the mural was funded by the University of Leicester’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nishan Canagarajah.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was established to help thousands of people who migrated to the UK from Commonwealth countries to work after the Second World War had their right to work and stay in the UK revoked, something that is now known as The Windrush Scandal.

One claimant helped by the Legal Advice Clinic at University of Leicester is Richard George who was born in the UK in 1965.

Richard’s parents, Daniel and Rosalyn, moved to the UK from Antigua and Barbuda in 1959. Daniel worked as a machinist and Rosalyn worked in a hosiery factory. Richard had seven other siblings, three brothers and four sisters.

In 1972, when Richard was seven years old, his parents were told that they were no longer allowed to reside in the UK and the entire family was forced to move back to Barbuda.

Richard said: “When we came back to Barbuda, my parents didn’t have two coins to rub together. We lost everything.”

“There you were only able to see a doctor or a dentist once a year, you were getting your drinking water from a well. My parents and my siblings had a lot of health issues that were not treated properly.”

Richard and his brother were able to move back to the UK in 1984 so that his brother could be treated for a chronic kidney condition. His brother died of kidney failure in 1987. Richard said that he has also lost another brother and two sisters due to lack of medical care.

Richard said: “To this day, we have still not had an explanation as to why my parents had their passports taken away from them.”

At the mural’s unveiling were other Windrush Compensation Scheme claimants, University staff and students and former head of the African Caribbean Centre, Marcia Brown.

Jazmine Crouch and Kwaku Ntim-Gyakari are the Co-Directors of the Windrush Compensation Project at University of Leicester and are both final year law students.

Jazmine said: “I am eternally honoured to co-direct the Justice for Windrush project and have the opportunity to engage with and work within the local community. I believe that the work we do is vital in ensuring the Windrush Generation is celebrated and rewarded with the compensation they deserve. I am proud that we were able to commission a mural that celebrates the Windrush Generation and recognise their contributions.”

Kwaku said: “Working alongside the Legal Advice Clinic has been a real privilege, being able to directly provide an access to justice to the local community has been a true honour, especially given the longstanding hardships the Windrush Generation has faced. I really hope the mural serves as an expression of the vibrancy that the Windrush Generation has offered to the UK and it is my aspiration that they continue to receive the justice they deserve.”

The Legal Advice Clinic is overseen by Director and Supervising Solicitor, Laura Bee. She said: “We in the Clinic are immensely proud of what the students have achieved, turning their wish to do something celebratory for the local Caribbean community into a reality.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of University of Leicester, Prof. Nishan Canagarajah said: “The Legal Advice Clinic is one of the finest examples of how our students are making a positive impact not only at the University but in the wider community of Leicester. It is a great privilege to have funded this fantastic piece of art that stands as a tribute to the lasting legacy of the Windrush Generation.”

The mural is currently on public display in the David Wilson Library at University of Leicester. Eventually, it will be moved to the Law School as a permanent fixture.

More information about the Legal Advice Clinic can be found here.