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The Church of England apologizes for decades of racism

High-ranking officials of the Church of England are apologizing for decades of racism, and have admitted that the church is "still deeply institutionally racist." 

During a meeting of the Church of England's ruling body, known as the General Synod, members backed a motion to apologize for racism in the Church since the arrival of what's known as the Windrush generation, BBC News reported.

The Windrush generation refers to citizens who immigrated to the U.K. from Commonwealth islands in the Caribbean between 1948 and 1971. Many faced discrimination and some were wrongfully pursued for deportation. In 2018, the British government apologized for the "appalling" treatment and set up a task force to look into the deportation of lawful residents.

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The Empire Windrush arrives at Tilbury, United Kingdom, June 22, 1948, transporting the first large group of immigrants from Jamaica to Britain. The ship's arrival became a landmark in British cultural and political history. REUTERS

On Tuesday, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canturbury, apologized for the Church's part in how the Windrush generation was treated, acknowledging that the Church had been a "hostile environment" to those people. 

Welby said he was "ashamed" of the history of racism. "There is no doubt when we look at our own Church that we are still deeply institutionally racist," he said. "I said it to the College of Bishops a couple of years ago and it's [still] true."

He added that the Church must become a "hospitable, welcoming one," and said "basic rules" were needed to address these issues. One example was to include ethnic minorities on panels within the Church, according to BBC News. 

Synod members also unanimously voted to "stamp out conscious or unconscious" racism with "great effort and urgency," a motion introduced by Rev. Andrew Moughtin-Mumby. 

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