The Black Cultural Archives in Brixton are hosting a free event to help victims of the Windrush scandal navigate the government’s compensation scheme.
The free event, open to all, will give attendees the opportunity to put questions to a panel of specialist immigration lawyers, a Home Office advisor, and politicians.
The archives is also partnering with lawyers to put on a series of free legal advice surgeries to support anyone making compensation applications.
The scandal broke in 2017 after it emerged thousands had been told by the Home Office that they were living illegally in the UK. Many were threatened with deportation, and others forced to leave, despite having lived and worked in the country for decades.
It later emerged their landing cards were in archives destroyed under Theresa May’s tenure at the Home Office.
Arike Oke, the Black Cultural Archives’ managing director, said: “We support The Windrush Compensation Scheme but it is difficult to access.
“It is causing additional trauma to those already made to suffer by asking them to navigate further unduly onerous and unnecessary amounts of evidence to be granted the compensation they are due.”
In April last year, Hayes criticised the government for its decision to arrange a compensation scheme meeting in Brixton with just a day’s notice, saying there are likely to be many in her Dulwich and West Norwood constituency unaware they are eligible for compensation and in need of independent legal advice with their applications.
The public meeting will be held at 2pm on Saturday, January 18, at Lambeth Town Hall.
Advice surgeries will be held every Wednesday evening from 5-8pm, and on Saturday mornings from 10am to midday, from January 22 to the end of February.
Ms Oke added: “The landing cards that would have led to citizenship being confirmed should have been in our archives.
“For our history and our presence in the UK to be held in such scant regard is shocking.
“We are here to correct those errors in judgement, to correct the emissions and erasures from mainstream history and to reassert that we were here before, we are now and we’ll be here in the future.
“We stand with the people affected by the Windrush scandal in making sure this never happens again, and will be helping them to claim the compensation they are absolutely entitled to as British citizens.”
Tickets for the free event are available at: blackculturalarchives.org or by calling the Black Cultural Archives on 0203 757 8500. Information on support with applications is also available online or over the phone.