Gypsies and Travellers celebrated their history and culture throughout June, as a programme of activities engaged politicians and councils, raising awareness of the community’s important place in London life.
To mark Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month, London Gypsies and Travellers organised events for MPs in the House of Commons, where it showcased its “Mapping the Histories of London’s Travellers” exhibition and participated in a reception event hosted by Andy Slaughter, MP.
Andy Slaughter emphasised the important place of Gypsies and Travellers in London life, demonstrated by LGT’s history exhibition.
“The exhibition is important because it demonstrates the reality that Gypsies and Travellers have been contributing to London life and society for hundreds of years,” he said. “In trade, craft, art, community, charity – right up to the pandemic, when key workers, volunteers and teachers from these communities worked tirelessly to support fellow Londoners – Gypsies and Travellers have been ingrained in London’s colourful life. That is something to be celebrated.”
But he also drew attention to the deep-rooted inequality and enduring discrimination faced by the community.
“We need to see a turnaround in both political will and action,” he said. “We can achieve that through a greater appreciation of history, an honest assessment of the data available and a mandate from a British public who believe in fairness, justice and respect for all.”
Other speakers at the event included Baroness Janet Whitaker and LGT community development team members.
LGT’s campaigning film, “Nowhere Left to Turn”, was shown at the reception, and at various other History Month events, including a discussion session about the issues being faced by the community held at Hackney Town Hall. The “Mapping the Histories of London’s Travellers” exhibition toured venues across the capital, including the Central Library, Cotmandene Children and Family Centre and Civic Centre in Bromley, the Peabody Housing Association head office and City Hall.
Other events included:
- A celebratory event at City Hall, organised in partnership with the Great London Authority, Southwark Travellers Action Group, Roma Support Group and Traveller Movement, with contributions from London Gypsy and Traveller Forum members, screenings of the “Nowhere Left to Turn” and “Leaving to Remain” films and music from the Ando Glasso collective.
- A Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month flag-raising event at Enfield Civic Centre organised by Enfield Council
- A meeting organised by Islington councillors with local Traveller residents and LGT to discuss how the council can better recognise and represent Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
Pictured: The LGT team with Hackney councillors holding the Romani flag after their meeting at Hackney Town Hall.