Windrush scandal Three generations of Windrush family struggling to prove they are British. #CourtneyLawrence and two-year old son face homelessness in fight over documentation

Courtney Lawrence and two-year old son face homelessness in fight over documentation

Three generations of one Windrush-descended family are struggling to prove that they are British in a protracted fight for documentation which has left a London-born woman facing homelessness with her two-year-old son.

Courtney Lawrence, 25, was denied emergency housing in May because officials said she needed to show a passport to prove she was eligible for council support, despite the fact that she was born in the UK and has never left the country. As a result of this refusal she was forced to sofa-surf with her son for five months; she has subsequently been given emergency accommodation in a Travelodge hotel.

Both her parents arrived in the UK from the Caribbean as small children more than half a century ago, and have never formally naturalised as British citizens. They did not realise that their immigration status was uncertain until their daughter told them she was having difficulty getting council support. The citizenship of Courtney’s son, Kasion, also born in London, is now also in question.

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The family’s difficulties reveal the complex problems still being experienced by many Windrush descendants 18 months after the government apologised and promised to “do right” by those affected by the Home Office scandal.

Courtney’s father, Joseph Lawrence, a retired construction worker, arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1957 when he was three, and has lived in England for the past 63 years.

Her mother, Gillian St Rose, a former special-needs teaching assistant, came in 1969 aged five from Saint Lucia, and has not left Britain in the past 50 years. Since both Jamaica and St Lucia were British colonies when they left, they travelled as British subjects on Citizens of the UK and Colonies passports. Courtney was born in London in 1994.

Until April, she and her parents had not realised that there was any problem with their immigration status. They had all watched the news about the Windrush scandal in April 2018, but did not think that they might be affected by the government’s mistreatment of thousands of Commonwealth-born citizens who were wrongly classified as illegal immigrants, despite being legally resident in the UK.

“I was very aware of it but I didn’t think for a second that it would affect me,” Courtney said. She was shocked when officials in the Newham council housing department questioned whether she was British. She showed her birth certificate and her National Insurance number to officials (which was what she had always shown prospective employers) but was told that this was not enough to prove that she was British and that she would need to bring her mother’s and father’s passports in order to prove her eligibility; neither parent has a British passport.

“They said the Home Office has said that you’re not British. They said they wouldn’t help me until I could prove I was British. It upset me. I was born here, I haven’t left the country, I’ve done good jobs here and this has never arisen,” Courtney, who has worked as a teaching assistant in nurseries and as a sales assistant, said. “This has made me depressed; I feel like I don’t know who I am.”

Courtney should be recognised as a British citizen, since she was born in the UK to British citizens, but because neither parent is currently able to prove their status as British citizens, she has struggled to persuade officials to believe her. Since changes to nationality legislation in 1983, just being born in the UK is not enough to make someone British; one or both parents must be British or have settled status in the UK. There are believed to be tens of thousands of children who were born here who were not automatically British at birth; many of them do not realise they have any immigration issues until adulthood, when they have difficulties accessing student loans or housing support.

As a result of the council’s decision to refuse her emergency housing, she had nowhere to stay. “I made it clear to them I was homeless,” she said. The council offered to refer her case to child services, but she was worried that this could result in her child being removed. “It sounded like they were offering services for my child and not for me.” Even when she presented officials with a letter explaining that she was affected by the Windrush scandal, staff still refused to believe that she was eligible for support.

Her parents were equally unaware that their immigration status was vulnerable. Since they realised that they have to regularise their status, they have both felt very anxious about whether they will find themselves targeted by immigration enforcement officers. “I’ve been waiting for someone to ring and say, ‘right, now you’re evicted’. I’ve become paranoid and been waiting to be deported,” Gillian St Rose said. “I’ve cried tears for her. I feel bad because it is my fault I didn’t get a passport – which I didn’t think I needed.”

The council changed its position in October and gave Courtney and her son an emergency room in a Travelodge hotel. She is delighted to have a room, although points out that being housed in a hotel means it is only possible to cook things which can be heated up with boiling water from a kettle (packet soup, noodles), and that the space is not appropriate for a two-year-old. She is more concerned about the passport problems facing her son, if her own immigration difficulties are not resolved.

Bethan Lant, advice manager at the charity Praxis which has been helping the family, described the risks facing the son as “serious”. “If he applies for a passport now, the Passport agency would want evidence of his mother’s status and there is currently no proof of that,” she said.

She helped Courtney Lawrence and her parents submit applications to the Windrush taskforce, and is waiting for a response. This unit was set up by the Home Office in the wake of the scandal last year, when the government was forced to apologise for criminalising thousands of legal UK residents, some of whom were wrongfully deported, detained, sacked from their jobs, evicted from their homes and denied access to healthcare.

Courtney has gathered extensive documentation from her childhood to try to prove to the Home Office that she has lived all her life in the UK. Her parents have collected photographs placing them in the UK in the 1960s; her mother has submitted a picture of herself in school uniform, details of her confirmation service, a primary school admission letter. Staff at Praxis are surprised at the length of time it is taking for the unit to respond to Courtney’s application.

Sally Daghlian, the Praxis CEO, said: “The policies that created the so-called Windrush scandal are extending across the generations and all those who do not have a British passport risk being denied essential services and left in limbo.”

The Home Office said staff would not routinely comment on individual cases. Newham councillor Charlene McLean said staff would be given more training to help them assess the eligibility of Windrush cases, as a result of the Lawrence family’s experience. “I am embarrassed this has happened and apologise to Ms Lawrence on behalf of the mayor of Newham and the council,” she said.

“We are hugely proud of all our migrant communities and that is why an important motion was passed last year to ensure the Windrush generation and their relatives would be fully supported by the council with all policies and procedures reviewed to reflect this. I am sorry this did not happen in this case. Although officers followed the law with regards to this particular case, this is not in line with usual procedure and more action could have been taken to check this resident’s UK citizenship.” 

The council is now in the process of moving Courtney Lawrence into a flat.

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A new YouGov poll has found the British public are generally proud of the British Empire and its colonial past.

The same poll also found 43 per cent believed the British Empire was a good thing, 19 per cent said it was bad and 25 per cent said it was “neither”.

YouGov found 44 per cent were proud of Britain’s history of colonialism, with 21 per cent regretting it happened and 23 per cent holding neither view.

It’s about time we as Africans must unite and speak from the same voice and not divided like the master planed in the plantation days.

Please keep visiting back as the story develop. Thank you in advance.

At its height in 1922, the British empire governed a fifth of the world’s population and a quarter of the world’s total land area. 

Although the proponents of Empire say it brought various economic developments to parts of the world it controlled, critics point to massacres, famines and the use of concentration camps by the British Empire.

1. Boer concentration camps

Armed Afrikaners on the veldt near Ladysmith during the second Boer War, circa 1900

During the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the British rounded up around a sixth of the Boer population – mainly women and children – and detained them in camps, which were overcrowded and prone to outbreaks of disease, with scant food rations.

Of the 107,000 people interned in the camps, 27,927 Boers died, along with an unknown number of black Africans. 

2. Amritsar massacre

A young visitor looks at a painting depicting the Amritsar Massare at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar

When peaceful protesters defied a government order and demonstrated against British colonial rule in Amritsar, India, on 13 April 1919, they were blocked inside the walled Jallianwala Gardens and fired upon by Gurkha soldiers. 

The soldiers, under the orders of Brigadier Reginald Dyer, kept firing until they ran out of ammunition, killing between 379 and 1,000 protesters and injuring another 1,100 within 10 minutes. 

Brigadier Dyer was later lauded a hero by the British public, who raised £26,000 for him as a thank you.

3. Partitioning of India

British lawyer and law lord Cyril Radcliffe, 1st Viscount Radcliffe (1899 – 1977) at the Colonial Office, London, July 1956

In 1947, Cyril Radcliffe was tasked with drawing the border between India and the newly created state of Pakistan over the course of a single lunch. 

After Cyril Radcliffe split the subcontinent along religious lines, uprooting over 10 million people, Hindus in Pakistan and Muslims in India were forced to escape their homes as the situation quickly descended into violence

Some estimates suggest up to one million people lost their lives in sectarian killings.

4. Mau Mau Uprising

Mau Mau suspects at one of the prison camps in 1953

Thousands of elderly Kenyans, who claim British colonial forces mistreated, raped and tortured them during the Mau Mau Uprising (1951-1960), have launched a £200m damages claim against the UK Government. 

Members of the Kikuyu tribe were detained in camps, since described as “Britain’s gulags” or concentration camps, where they allege they were systematically tortured and suffered serious sexual assault. 

Estimates of the deaths vary widely: historian David Anderson estimates there were 20,000, whereas Caroline Elkins believes up to 100,000 could have died.

5. Famines in India

Starving children in India, 1945

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how ignorant are Labours voters? They say they don’t understand the stolen or baby 👶 organs by the state and black issues?

Surely you don’t start sending him this link. Click here to view it or watch the video below
How ignorant do you have to be. That’s why T Labour Party is not winning.
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The question was you said The Labour Party don’t understand Black Issue and Adam Mustafa shouldn’t criticise Israel 🇮🇱 for the Gaza 🇵🇸 assault <=killing of Muslim children 👶 > plus how he got read of Irene. He was trying to impress me by the impression after he told me. Sick 🤢 racist secretary for Laura Smith MP. He’s own wide was there. Ask her and Andrew Wilson.

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Oh well, when you was trying to use me by sending me that 📺 screen shot you knew Teff lives on your ward ( 💺 seat 💺) and by getting me to post that it would’ve given the opportunity to claim the seat back. Your not a genuine friend though I wanted to work with you and made you admin on my AdamsFamilyMediaGroup networks. Never again and I will never bring anybody in to a senior level like I did with you.

Is Vue Cinema racist? What’s your view?

Vue Cinemas have pulled screenings of Blue Story because of an incident in Birmingham.

This brawl however, is said to have taken place during a Vue cinema screening of Disney’s #Frozen2 👀
Considering there have been no reports of violence at any other screening of @bluestorymovie , it’s unclear why @vue has decided to pull @rapman’s feature debut from all of its venues across the UK.
Everyone understands opening weekend is important to films. Especially indie films. Especially to a black indie film of which getting to the big screen is not easy.

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One cinema franchise ban shouldn’t stop you… Blue Story is screening at most other cinema franchises.

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A teenager wearing a Camo jacket and holding a large machete is seen at Star City during the Friday night brawlsCredit: Snappersk

A VIOLENT gangsta movie made by the BBC has been axed from cinemas after 100 yobs armed with machetes and knives clashed on its opening evening.

Seven cops were hurt as they desperately tried to control brawling scenes for 90 minutes at the screening of Blue Story.

This is one film 🎥 which has caused Police 👮‍♂️ to over react and Vue targeting the black community again.

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is this justified some member of the black community is asking?

Tonya Pinkins Story In revue is coming soon here on #BlackHistoryMonth4Life which it was conducted by our reporter #AdamMustafaPolitics. She demonstrated on the interview about Racism in the Movie 🎥 industry and society in general. Please click here to watch what films 🎥 Tonya Pinkins has acted on

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On other black News on the Windrush Generation and immigration

Please share the video below to the rest of humanity this can save the world 🌍 from cancer and autism 👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿

Rapman has broken his silence about the brawl that took place at a Birmingham cinema this weekend, prompting Vue Cinemas to ban all screenings of his new movie Blue Story.

Reports emerged of a gang arriving at the Vue cinema armed with machetes prompting armed police to descend on the complex.

It was then revealed the Vue Cinemas decided to ban Blue Story following the incident.

Rapman, real name Andrew Onwubolu, reacted to the brawl with a statement on Twitter which said: ‘Sending love to all those involved in yesterday’s violence at Star City in Birmingham. It’s truly unfortunate that a small group of people can ruin things for everybody.

Alluding to the cinema ban, the filmmaker continued: ‘There were also a few incidents earlier this year with the release of The Joker, it’s always unfortunate, but I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself.’

If this was your child what would you do? He said he’s not African and F**k your Ebola s**t

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The “Hand of the Philosopher,” or the “Hand of the Mysteries,” created by 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐧 𝐈𝐬𝐚𝐚𝐜 𝐇𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐬, Flamenco Alchemist in 1667, is an Alchemical talisman that represents the symbols of apotheosis, or the transformation of man to the Divine level. In Alchemy, the hand signifies the formula for the preparation of the Tincture Physicorum. To the Kabbalist, it signifies the operations of the One Power (the crowned thumb) in the four worlds (the fingers and their emblems). The figure also symbolizes the hand of the Master Mason which “raises” the martyred Builder of the Divine Temple.
Each element has its own meaning: The Fish is mercury and the flame-bounded sea in which it swims is sulphur, while each of the fingers bears the emblem of a Divine Agent through the combined operations that constitute the Great Work, the Magnum Opus of Hermetic Alchemy. Philosophically, the key represents the Mysteries themselves, without whose aid man cannot unlock the numerous chambers of his own being. The Lantern is human knowledge, the spark of Universal Fire captured within the anthropos; it is the light of those who dwell in the inferior universe and, with the aid of the Light of the Superior Universe, follow the path of Truth. The Sun, “the light of the world”, represents the luminescence of creation through which man may learn the mystery of all things expressed through Truth and form. The Star is the Universal Light, which reveals cosmic and celestial verities. The Crown is the Absolute Light–unknown and unrevealed–whose power shines through all the lesser lights, which are but sparks of this Eternal Effulgence.
— from color plate description in The Secret Teachings Of All Ages