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Dear Britain,

When invited
They came for you
After war broke your country
They helped see you through

But then, you held all the power
So, they never really had a choice
Colonised and subdued
They were a people without a voice

So, to help rebuild
They arrived on your shores
To become your manufacturers
And assistants in stores

Their usefulness and very presence
Became a never-ending debate
And they were constantly subjected
To animosity and hate

But still, they persevered
Because they also came for opportunities
They faced adversity with strength
And created their own communities  

They enriched the economy
And transformed the cultural scene
They expanded the definition of ‘Britishness’
Through their music, art and cuisine   
They played their part
And brought restoration
But they also became more
And rose above their station

Is that what irks you?
That they couldn’t be contained
That even after all these years
Their influence remains?

Is that why you created
An environment of hostility?
A plan you knew full well
Would strip them of their dignity
Because what else would you expect?
When you forget an entire generation
When your laws and oversight didn’t account
For their lack of documentation 

We’ve seen how you’ve treated them
And your failure to care where they’ll go
Your failure to consider how they’ll survive
If you rip them from their only home 

You feign ignorance now
But your actions prove otherwise
They show a pattern as old as time
When you take, use and dehumanise

History reminds us when we forget
So, we’ll be ending the cycle here 
The Windrush generation are a part of you
And their story won’t just disappear

Because what you did was cruel
And you have to take responsibility
That’s the first step to earning back trust
Not plausible deniability 
Because even now
They’re still here for you
In a different type of war
Still seeing you through 

They’re your keyworkers
And nurses on the frontlines
They’re the ones you can count on
Ready on the side-lines 
So, when another war ends Britain
Please don’t go back
Please remember your people
Don’t discriminate because they’re black 

There’s no sweeping this under the rug
So stop the deportations
Stop waiting for everyone to forget
And begin real reparations 

Yours sincerely,
A concerned citizen

Poem by Solicitor Apprentice Tracy Osei-Berko