By Christopher Morgan –
Kirklees Local Television (KLTV) officially premiered their film Windrush: The Years After, A Community Legacy on Film, at the Brian Jackson House in Huddersfield on Friday 30 September.
KLTV invited over 100 delegates from across the Yorkshire region and the African-Caribbean community, including councilors, heads of service, and local community activists.
The event was a huge success, with many positive reactions to both the film and discussion panel afterwards. People engaged with the panelists, enjoyed the food and music, and shared in the history of the experiences depicted on screen.
The premiere was a collective community effort by a host of individuals and organisations alongside KLTV, whom all contributed their time and effort to make the evening a success.
The evening’s events were hosted by Onita Harrison, Commercial Director at Eat Our Round About.
A former technology advisor to the European Commission, Home Office Race Equality Advisor, and advisor to the MacPherson report during the Stephen Lawrence enquiry, Onita currently advocates for detainees’ rights in the criminal justice system.
Onita guided the evening and provided insightful commentary on the need for communities to come together and support each other and the next generations.
Upon entering the venue, attendees were greeted with the sound of Steel Pan from Victoria Jaquiss and the Foxwood Panyard Steel Band.
After arriving and finding their seats, guests were served a delicious assortment of Jamaican cuisine courtesy of local restaurant Gravy’s Caribbean Flavour.
Once the attendees had their fill, it was time for the event to start. To start, Edwin Baker, leader of the Huddersfield Community Gospel Choir, led the audience in a beautiful prayer for the Windrush Generation.
The choir then followed with a brilliant performance that had the audience clapping and singing along in no time.
To introduce the film, Barry Doyle, Professor of Health History at the University of Huddersfield, shared a unique insight into the film’s creation, and its contribution to Black British History.
Immediately following the premiere, the audience heard an outstanding and heartfelt keynote address from The Deputy Mayor of Kirklees Cllr Cahal Burke.
Cllr Burke paid great reverence and respect to the Windrush generation and African-Caribbean community and perfectly linked the themes and messages of the film with the wider ethnic communities in Kirklees
For the final part of the evening, an expert panel provided unique perspectives on the film and fielded questions from the audience.
Milton Brown is the CEO of Kirklees Local Television Ltd, which documents news, develops young people, and promotes the civic activism of people, places, culture & heritage.
Milton spoke about the messages in the film, such as the importance of continuing to move forward and strive for a better future for everyone.
Helen Wells is a first-generation Windrush descendant, a Trauma Counselor with over 20 years of experience, has completed an honours degree, a master’s in social sciences, and is currently completing her PhD in dementia research.
Speaking honestly and openly, Helen shared her pride in who she is, the causes she stands for, and what she has achieved in honour of both her parents and ancestors.
Heather Paul is a Senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, contributing to both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on Teaching and Education, alongside lectures on the MA in race.
Helen shared with the audience what she took from the film, namely the need to and importance of moving forward in the way that the previous generations had done, promoting activism and working actively in the community.
Finally, Pastor Henry Nelson is the Minister of the Church of God Fellowship in Sheepridge, Huddersfield. Born in Westmoreland, Jamaica in the late 1940s, Pastor Nelson is a part of the Windrush Generation that arrived in the UK in the 1960s.
Pastor Nelson shared the need to keep up the fight against discrimination and hate and take things to the next level.
‘Unite & Work Together’
After the film, delegates shared their thoughts on the evening’s events.
Chief Superintendent Jim Griffiths, District Commander for Kirklees Police, said: “I’ve learnt a lot about the history of the struggles people have had, and how they had to adapt.”
“I wanted to learn, I wanted to know what we can do professionally, and how I individually can make things better.”
Debbie Johnson, Senior Administrator at the NHS Health Informatics Service, added: “For me, it’s about being our own advocate, and challenging situations.
“A lot of that I’ve experienced through my children, and a lot of my strength comes from my children.”
“We really need to unite & work together to make things better.”
Upon reflection, many people noted similarities between the experiences of Huddersfield’s Windrush generation and other communities across the country.
“I’ve learnt our stories up and down the length of Britain are the same.” Said Clinton McCoy, an ex-Youth Worker and Community Activist.
“There are always other questions to ask, other topics to cover, but we can’t do everything, we just capture what we can.”
“For me, the key is sharing what we have with the younger ones to make them stronger.”
Following the premiere, Windrush: The Years After will be made publicly available online on 31 October 2022 at www.kirkleeslocaltv.com.
You can watch the official trailer for the film here: https://youtu.be/nGoH_3_gd40
KLTV would like to thank High Street Heritage Action Zones, The University of Huddersfield, Heritage Lottery Fund, Microform Imaging ltd., and the Department for Transport for their significant contribution to the development, and marketing of Windrush: The Years After, A Community Legacy on Film.
Finally, we would like to thank Huddersfield’s Windrush elders, past and present, for their stoic and steadfast contributions to this unique piece of history.