Members and representatives of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities discussed their needs and aspirations – and how the Greater London Authority might address them – at a meeting with one of London’s Deputy Mayors on 18th October.
Among the issues raised by participants were the huge accommodation crisis facing London Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination, and the increasing insecurity and fear resulting from Brexit. Also discussed were increased enforcement against those who are rough sleeping or in precarious work, and persisting inequalities in education and health.
London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder, had organised the roundtable discussion with community representatives , support organisations, council officers and other stakeholders.
“The aim was to agree on positive actions that can be taken by his team and the wider GLA to address some of these concerns,” said Ilinca Diaconescu, London Gypsies and Travellers’ Policy Officer, who attended the meeting.
Also present was Mena Mongan, one of the key community activists behind LGT’s #weareallsomanythings anti-discrimination campaign. She asked for the Mayor’s direct support in spreading the campaign message more widely, through posters on the London Underground and a video giving a positive statement to the community.
Kinga Ciuran, a member of the Polish Roma community, spoke about the discrimination facing Roma in EU countries and the UK and the need for strong and inclusive welcoming messages from the Mayor to all migrants. “These suggestions were taken on board by the Deputy Mayor,” said Ilinca Diaconescu.
“Other positive highlights included a suggestion to organise a celebration for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month, a welcome for data and evidence produced by Gypsy and Traveller support organisations, and the prospect of a meeting with the Deputy Mayor for Education.”
Picture: London Deputy Mayor Matthew Ryder pictured with (left to right) Mena Morgan and Rose McCarthy
Below: Mena Mongan reports on the meeting from outside City Hall