Voices from Isolation - Reflections on the Windrush Scandal
Earlier this year, British filmmaker Sonita Gale got in touch with us about a feature-length documentary she was in the process of making. Voices from Isolation shines a light on the hostile environment created by immigration policies in the UK. The documentary explores the impact of the No Recourse to Public Funds policy which restricts migrant's access to the welfare state, and the chasm between Britain's rich and poor, unveiling how the country has reached a point of crisis.
Having seen a rough cut, we were immediately interested in this important film, and after a couple of conversations we decided to show some extracts from the documentary, followed by a discussion event at our recent online festival in May. What ensued was a passionate, crucial, and rivitating conversation between Sonita, social commentator and Windrush Campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE, Natalie Barnes (daughter of prominent Windrush campaigner Paulette Wilson), Councillor Sonia Winifred, and Anthony Bryan (who appears in the film). The conversation focussed on the Windrush Scandal, and how it's indicative of a systemic issue in the way that so many migrants are treated in this country.
In light of the Lesson's Learned Review, which assessed the causes and impact of the Windrush Scandal, they also discussed the steps the government has taken in recent years to ensure mistakes from the past are not repeated, asking how the findings of the Sewell Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities reflects the lived experiences of minorities and migrants in modern Britain, questioning why the Home Office has stopped recording how many people from the Windrush generation have died waiting for compensation. They also look at how current immigration policies - like the New Points Based System - will impact migrant communities, and whether the hurdles placed in front of highly-skilled migrants may indeed be the next Windrush Scandal in the making, begging the question: what happens when the Hostile Environment turns to us all?
Today (22 June), being Windrush day, we thought it apt to make this discussion available again (see above).
The documentary itself will be completed later this summer, and we're currently in the process of organising a cinema-screening in September.