A Lambeth councillor has launched a petition calling for the recently announced Windrush memorial - proposed for Waterloo Station - to be built in Brixton instead.
Last month prime minister Theresa May announced that the Windrush Commemoration Committee – chaired by Lib Dem peer Baroness Benjamin – had chosen Waterloo Station as the location for a £1 million monument to honour immigrants to the UK from the Windrush generation.
"While it is right to choose Lambeth to celebrate the arrival of the Empire Windrush and the major contribution of the Windrush generation to the UK, Windrush Square in Lambeth is the rightful site for this memorial," said Cllr Sonia Winifred, Lambeth's cabinet member for equalities and culture, whose petition on Change.org has reached nearly 150 signatures.
Defending the choice of Waterloo Station, Baroness Benjamin wrote to the Guardian last week: "We debated several options before the decision of Waterloo station was made. It is where thousands of West Indians arrived from Southampton, as I did, in 1960. They were heading to Britain, not Brixton. They met loved ones under the iconic clock and dispersed across the nation.
"The monument will celebrate not only those who arrived on the Empire Windrush in 1948 at Tilbury, but also those who came later.
"Windrush Square in Brixton was strongly considered, as we were aware of the importance of the area, which was highlighted by Windrush pioneer Sam King.
"But I believe he would have seen the bigger picture: to celebrate the inspirational Windrush story of courage, resilience and dedication nationally and internationally, in the centre of our capital.
"Brixton and other areas where West Indians settled will be part of an interactive audiovisual element in the monument, telling the story of the Windrush saga, including the current scandal. All this will be a legacy for our children.
"The station's £200 million development with the monument at its centre will transform the area into an exciting destination, with shops, restaurants and walkways connecting to the South Bank, attracting visitors from across the world."
Arthur Torrington, director of the Windrush Foundation, also wrote to the Guardian: "The late Sam King, a co-founder of Windrush Foundation, would not have agreed with Floella Benjamin's suggestion that Waterloo station is an appropriate site for a Windrush monument.
"Neither do I, who have nurtured and publicised the 'Windrush phenomenon' since 1995. Baroness Benjamin did not consult with me or any other director of Windrush Foundation."
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