Singing in celebration of Windrush Day 2020

Dear residents, partners and colleagues,

Today we have today launched an invitation for everyone in the borough to join a unique Lambeth-wide door step rendition of the Desmond Dekker song ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ in a new and social distancing friendly Windrush Day 2020 celebration on June 22.

Colourful Radio, at, will be broadcasting the song, and we are encouraging everyone to tune in. There is also be Windrush art and activities pack, created by a Brixton-based artist Carolyne Hill, to support the celebration. It contains a specially designed motif which features on posters for people to decorate and then put in their windows, on their front doors and in their gardens. There is also Windrush bunting for people to decorate and hang out.

The lyrics, artwork and special activities do to on the day can be downloaded from

This year’s Windrush celebration was developed during the Covid-19 lockdown and has been inspired by the weekly Clap for Carers and the huge contribution members of the Windrush generation have made in the battle against the coronavirus – often at great personal cost.

Lambeth Council and the Brixton Project have worked with local musicians to create the music for this safe mass participation event. The new recording of You Can Get It If You Really Want created for residents to sing-along to from their door step, front garden or window on Monday, June 22 at 10:27am – which is in referenced to 1,027 passengers aboard the Empire Windrush when it docked at Tilbury on 22 June 1948.

We have put this together as a fantastic celebration of the Windrush Generation, but also of our community and sense of unity in the face of adversity. So I’m asking everyone – businesses, schools and shops to play this song and join in on June 22 at 10:27am.

This celebration has added significance at a time when the Black Lives Matter campaign has once again placed the spotlight on the racist and despicable treatment experienced by the Windrush Generation under the Hostile Environment Policy which ultimately destroyed many Black people’s lives.

This celebration has been designed as an antidote to discrimination, highlighting the legacy of the Windrush generation whose Caribbean culture and traditions have been hugely influential on British culture, and are now reflected throughout the UK in music, food and fashion.

This year we also faced the COVID-19 pandemic which has again illustrated how ill-placed discrimination against Black people has been, and how the Windrush Generation is a group of people that keeps giving for Britain – with many members working on the front line of this crisis, in hospitals, on public transport and in care services helping save lives and look after those who are most at risk.

The Windrush Generation have made a tremendous contribution to British life and that has never been more evident or important to celebrate than now.

Jamaican born Desmond Dekker released “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, which was written by Jimmy Cliff, in 1970 when it reached number two in the UK charts. Dekker, who later lived in south London and died in 2006 is now buried in Streatham Park Cemetery.

The song which was chosen in partnership with community representatives as it is uplifting, fun to join in singing and is instantly recognisable. A huge amount has changed since we began search for the song, but we hope you will all join in and create a moment of unity across Lambeth to acknowledge the Windrush Generation.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Sonia Winifred

Lambeth Council’s Cabinet member for Equalities and Culture