Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month celebrations took a new format this year, with London Gypsies and Travellers, the Greater London Authority and other organisations staging a spectacular online event showcasing the community’s contribution and culture, but suited to COVID times.
Debbie Weekes-Bernard, London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, attended the event and spoke about the importance of celebrating the month and working with the community on inclusive plans for post-COVID recovery. In a special message on Twitter, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the week was a good opportunity to highlight the huge contribution of the Gypsy, Romany and Traveller communities to London and the UK, especially during the pandemic.
“To the key workers, volunteers and teachers from these communities who work tirelessly to support Londoners, thank you,” he said.
This is the third year that London Gypsies and Travellers has helped organise Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month activities. There were contributions from performers, community organisations and academics, including music collective Ando Glaso, the Roma Support Group, Traveller Pride, Chelsea McDonagh, The Traveller Movement, Dr Dea Birkett, Circus 250, the National Fairground and Circus Archive, Faith i Branko and the Newham Bridging Sounds Orchestra.
The compere of the event Tyler Hatwell, a Showman who runs Traveller Pride, said that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month was an important event because it shone a light on a community whose contribution to society and culture is rarely talked about.
To mark the month, London Gypsies and Travellers has also posted a series of videos on their YouTube Channel collecting stories, memories and photos from Gypsy and Traveller families.
Pictured: Newham’s Bridging Sounds Orchestra Virtual perform Romany music online at the conclusion of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month event