I entered ARE’s Windrush voices competition because I felt that I had the chance to share my history and the pride that I have when talking about the Windrush Generation but also exploring the reality that my family had to face coming to Britain. I wanted to be able to express my thoughts and feelings surrounding everything about the Windrush Generation as my family are from Jamaica and Barbados and I put those feelings into my poem. The Windrush history is incredibly important to me because my grandparents were Windrush Generation and came to Britain to work and start a family in an entirely new place.
I am grateful that my parents taught me about my family history and what they did to have a new beginning. My parents explained to me the incredibly long time they spent on ship and arriving at Southampton Port as well as every aspect of their journey, which made me even more proud to be Caribbean and have the chance to share the history of my family and all of the Windrush Generation.Reaiah Barnett, age 16
Windrush Voices competition runner up
Reaiah Barnett, William Perkin CofE High School
This is the Windrush Generation.
Change. Growth. Adaption.
Sailing away, don’t look back
Palm trees wave goodbye
Start clouds appear above
An unknown land beyond
A time for new beginnings
New memories to be made
Old memories to be cherished
All they had knew
I had stories by my parents’ parents
They seemed like a fantasy,
A fairy tale world far far away
Wondering why they would have ever left
“Little one, the land mi love, the place mi call home
That land far away was all mi know
Mountains and valleys
Fruit for every root
The beauty of our Blue Mountain peak
Tall and strong
That’s all we learned to be
Strong to venture into the unknown
Strong in a new reality
Strong in dis new home”
Restless days and nights
Waiting for a New Hope
I hope of prosperity
One by one
Two by two
They rode the waves of challenges ahead
Waves of fear an anticipation
No longer the waves of serenity they once known
I look up to them
The Windrush Generation
Shut out with harsh words
Signs on the windows all around
Where was the peace?
Where was land they were meant to love?
Hate spread like fire
The sparks grew and reached out
Engulfing them in their flames
But hope stood strong
For this generation made me who I am
I know who I am
I am a black girl
I love my history
My family travelled across the Atlantic Ocean
I am proud
Because they made me who I am
They are the Windrush Generation
Changed. Grew. Adapted.
By Reaiah Barnett
Youth voices at ARE
We’re supporting young people share their voices and ideas to shape our work and have an impact on employment, education and the criminal justice system through our Youth Panel & Ambassador programme.