Rugby worker shares story on 75th Anniversary of Windrush Day to celebrate legacy of descendants in UK

Windrush Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war immigration from the Caribbean
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A Rugby worker is sharing his story on the 75th Anniversary of Windrush Day to celebrate the legacy of his descendants in the UK.

Kevin McKenzie is a member of Amazon’s Black Employee Network (BEN) and a descendant of the Windrush generation.

Windrush Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war immigration from the Caribbean.

Kevin McKenzie.Kevin McKenzie.
Kevin McKenzie.

The day has cultural significance as it honours the contributions and sacrifices made by the Windrush generation, who helped to rebuild and shape modern-day Britain.

He is sharing his story this week to celebrate the diversity of the contemporary workplace and highlight the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) progress made in the UK over the past seven decades.

BEN’s mission at Amazon is promote diversity and equity in the workplace while supporting a culture of inclusion with employees across the business.

Kevin works as an area manager at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Rugby.

Before joining Amazon, Kevin worked in warehouses for a number of large companies. Whilst looking for a job change, he heard good things about Amazon and its employee benefits, so he joined the company in 2014 and has continued to rise ever since.

Windrush Day is a celebration very close to Kevin’s heart, with both of his parents originating from British Guiana. Kevin’s maternal grandparents came to the UK in 1954 on the SS Columbie and his paternal grandparents arrived in the 1960s. Many years later, Kevin’s parents met at a bus stop where they bonded over their Guianese experiences and journey to the UK.

“The journey my parents and grandparents went on has always intrigued me, and the experience of moving somewhere for opportunities fascinates me,” said Kevin. “The bravery of the Windrush generation has given me confidence for my own journey – I’m not afraid to take risks and move somewhere new, and I wouldn’t be like this if it wasn’t for my family and their experiences.”

Kevin is an active member of BEN, and is the Rugby fulfilment centre’s point of contact for the group. In his role, Kevin supports black employees at Amazon in Rugby and across the Amazon network, encouraging them to share experiences and help each other.

“I’m proud to be a member of BEN as it’s important for employees to be represented in their workplace and open up discussions about inclusion. Within BEN, we can celebrate occasions that tend to be forgotten and provide education and information on the black experience and history,” said Kevin.

He added: “I was pleased to take part in a mentoring programme with a senior leader recently through BEN to teach her about life as a black employee - I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without BEN.”

Kevin said the experiences his family had with Windrush have made him realise anything is possible for his own children. He added: “My grandparents had nothing and built themselves a life in the UK, overcoming hard times and succeeding; this attitude is something I instill in my children too.”

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