To recognise the work and contribution of an exceptional individual who has campaigned over a long period of time.
Patrick Vernon, OBE
Patrick is a British social commentator and activist of Jamaican heritage. He has campaigned around race equality and social justice for 20 years, tackling issues as diverse as deaths in custody, mental health, Windrush Day and adding Mary Seacole to the national curriculum.
Most recently, he has been praised for his perseverance and leadership in response to the Windrush scandal. Vernon created one of the fastest growing online parliamentary petitions ever, which demanded an amnesty for Windrush generation minors. It was signed by over 180,000 people, including journalists, politicians across political parties and church leaders.
Patrick launched The Windrush Justice Fund at the height of the scandal, which raised over £40,000 for independent legal assistance for people affected. Campaigning by Patrick and others led to a Government U-turn on immigration policy and material changes to the immigration system.
As part of his ongoing advocacy, Patrick led a campaign for 22 June to be recognised annually as Windrush Day, a national day acknowledging the contribution of the Windrush generation to UK society. It was officially backed by the UK Government in June 2018.
He is founder of Every Generation Media and 100 Great Black Britons, which creates education programmes, publications and films on cultural heritage and family history. He has been previously awarded for his expertise and work around african and caribbean genealogy in the UK.
Patrick was awarded an OBE for his work in tackling health inequalities for ethnic minority communities in Britain.