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Traveller Movement and leading activists call for apology from Home Secretary over anti-Traveller comments

The Traveller Movement has written an open letter to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel asking that she apologise for comments made during an event where she referred to Travellers as criminal and violent.

The letter has been signed by parliamentarians, academics, NGOs and activists.

First reported in Travellers’ Times on September 22nd, the Home Secretary was speaking at an online event hosted by the Board of Deputies for British Jews. When asked about site allocation for Travellers, the Home Secretary said the following:

"The Home Office's work in this particular area actually refers to some of the criminality that takes place, and that has happened through traveller communities and unauthorised encampments. Now that's very different to gypsy and roma communities. The two are absolutely separate. Where we have seen criminality, violence taking place."

Responding to the comments, the letter points out that Gypsies and Travellers are ethnic groups protected from race discrimination under the Equality Act 2010:

“You have a duty as a public figure to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and encourage good relations between all groups. Your comments not only pit ethnic groups against one another; they also single out an entire ethnic group as criminal and violent.  As you will be aware, Gypsies, Roma and Travellers experience some of the highest levels of discrimination, hate and hostility of all ethnic groups.”  

The letter calls for a retraction of the comments, as well as a full apology from the Home Secretary to Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

The letter can be read in full here

Commenting on the letter, the Chair of the Traveller Movement Pauline Anderson OBE, said: We are shocked to hear such comments being made by the Home Secretary. She effectively brands a whole ethnic group as violent and criminal. This wouldn’t happen to any other ethnic group. It’s a disgrace.

Also commenting, CEO of the Traveller Movement Yvonne MacNamara said: we find these comments objectionable in the extreme. Gypsies and Travellers already experience very high levels of discrimination and are often reluctant to report hate crimes committed against them. Now we know why!!. These comments are vile. We demand an immediate apology from the Home Secretary.

 

ENDS

Contacts

 

Name

Patricia Stapleton

020 7607 2002

Email address

policymanager@travellermovement.org.uk

 

Notes to Editor

* The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community development policy and voice charity who campaign against discrimination, promote inclusion, participation and community engagement for the Irish Traveller and Gypsy communities in Britain. TM is proud to work in partnership with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities together with service providers and policy makers across the UK to better promote social inclusion and community cohesion.

 

Visit the Traveller Movement website here: https://travellermovement.org.uk/

 

Senator Eileen Flynn to deliver key note address at Traveller Movement conference

The Traveller Movement is very happy to announce that Senator Eileen Flynn, the first Irish Traveller ever to be elected to the Irish Seanad (senate) will deliver the key note address at our annual conference on the 12th of November. 

Born and raised in Dublin, Senator Flynn made history in June when she was elected to the Irish Senate, a move that was celebrated across the Irish political divide.  A mother of one, and a graduate of both Trinity College Dublin and Maynooth University, she has previously worked for the Irish Traveller Movement, the National Traveller Women’s Forum, and Ballyfermot Traveller Action Programme. She has campaigned across various equalities issues, including anti-racism, marriage equality and abortion rights. Senator Flynn stated her objectives in the Seanad will be "mental health services, unemployment among Travellers, opportunities for minority groups and getting hate-crime legislation enacted". The TM is delighted that Senator Flynn will join us to share her inspiring story. 

Other speakers at this year's conference include the chair of the Youth Justice Board, Keith Fraser, activist Luke Smith and Rom Belong programme coordinator, Chrissie Brown. Also joining us is Dr Omar Khan, formerly of Runnymede Trust and Director of newly established Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO), as well as MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana, and Jennifer Moses, equalities lead with NASUWT, the Teachers’ Union.  

This year's conference takes place completely on line, with attendees joining from the comfort of their own homes.  

The four interactive workshops will take place in the afternoon, with virtual break out rooms and trained facilitators. 

Join us online for our most innovative and accessible conference to date. Book your tickets here 

 

CEO of the Traveller Movement Yvonne MacNamara said the following:  

We are delighted that Senator Eileen Flynn will deliver the key note address at this year's conference, and we hope that as many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people as possible join us to celebrate this excellent achievement. 

It’s been a very challenging year for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people but it remains important that we keep campaigning, challenging and advancing the rights of GRT people in this country. We look forward to seeing you all – online – in November!!!   

 

Ticket information 

Tickets can be purchased through Traveller Movement’s online portal, with joining instructions to follow in the weeks leading up to the event.  

For Conference updates, follow us on social media here: Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin  

 

ENDS 

 

Contacts  

Patricia Stapleton 

020 7607 2002 

Email address 

policymanager@travellermovement.org.uk  

 

Notes to Editor 

* The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community development policy and voice charity who campaign against discrimination, promote inclusion, participation and community engagement for the Irish Traveller and Gypsy communities in Britain. TM is proud to work in partnership with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities together with service providers and policy makers across the UK to better promote social inclusion and community cohesion. 

 

For more information and to book tickets, please visit our website:  https://travellermovement.org.uk/ 

 

Open letter to Priti Patel - Travellers deserve an apology.

The Traveller Movement and others have written an open letter to the Home Secretary following her recent comments during an online event by the Board Of Deputies for British Jews. Signed by leading academics, race equality organisations and others, the letter calls for a retraction and apology to Gypsies, Roma and Travellers 

 

Dear Home Secretary, 

Re: Anti-Traveller comments made during online event by Board of Deputies of British Jews 

We write to express our concerns regarding your recent anti-Traveller comments made during an online event with the Board of Deputies of British Jews, where you referred to Travellers on unauthorised sites as criminal and violent.  These comments are completely unacceptable and discriminatory in the extreme, especially coming from a Home Secretary.

Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are protected from race discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. We consider your comments during this meeting to constitute hate speech as it brands an entire ethnic group as criminal and violent.  

You have a duty as a public figure to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and encourage good relations between all groups. Your comments not only pit ethnic groups against one another; they also single out an entire ethnic group as criminal and violent.  As you will be aware, Gypsies, Roma and Travellers experience some of the highest levels of discrimination, hate and hostility of all ethnic groups.  

The online hate speech bill in Scotland is currently open for consultation. We ask you to explain how you consider that your comments fit with that bill? How can these communities rely on their experiences being taken seriously when the Home Secretary is wilfully uttering hate speech?  

We recently launched a campaign, with Jewish human rights group Rene Cassin calling for all parliamentarians to sign a pledge to cut out hate speech. We think you should sign that pledge. Find further information here.  

You should also consider supporting Lord Simon Woolley’s recent call for all sitting parliamentarians to receive unconscious bias training. Clearly, it is desperately needed.  

Further, there is no evidence to support your claims that criminality or violence abounds within Traveller sites.   

We call for an immediate retraction of these comments, and a public apology made directly to all Traveller, Gypsy and Roma people.

We look forward to hearing from you. 

 

Yours sincerely,

Pauline Anderson OBE, Chair of the Traveller Movement  

Yvonne MacNamara, CEO of the Traveller Movement

 

Co-signatories:

Baroness Janet Whitaker, Co-chair of the APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma

Martin Docherty-Hughes, Co-chair of the APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma

Lord Simon Woolley, former chair of the Race Disparity Unit’s advisory group

John McDonnell MP

Nadia Whittome MP

Zarah Sultana MP

Claudia Webbe MP

Professor Colin Clark, University of West Scotland   

Dr Sindy Joyce, University of Limerick, Ireland

Chris McDonagh, Travellers Against Racism 

Julie Ward, former MEP

Brian Dalton, CEO Irish in Britain 

Doreen Dove, Gypsy Roma Traveller Social Work Association 

Andrew Nixon, Company Secretary of the Association of Independent Showmen

Mushtaq Khan, BME National Co-ordinator

Jabeer Butt, OBE, Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation

Ilinca Diaconescu, London Gypsies and Travellers

Martin Gallagher, Irish Traveller activist

Maurice McLeod, CEO Race on the Agenda

Trudy Aspinwall, Travelling Ahead

Gypsy Council UK

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, Rene Cassin

Mike Doherty and Lisa Smith, Editors of the Travellers’ Times

Sarah Mann, Director Friends, Families and Travellers

Dr Siobhan Spencer, Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group

Southwark Travellers Action Group

Helen Jones, CEO LeedsGate Gypsy and Travellers Exchange 

Johanna Price, chair for National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups   

Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Chief Officer at Caribbean and African Health Network

Professor Margaret Greenfields

Professor Kalwant Bhopal, University of Birmingham

Dr Martin Myers, University of Nottingham

Chrissie Browne, Widening Participation Officer, Kings College London

Jenni Formby

Adrian Jones, National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups   

Article 12, Scotland

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive Stop Hate UK

Natalie Fenton, Goldsmiths University

Professor Imagen Tylor, Lancaster University 

Matt Smith, TravellerSpace

UK Jews of Colour Sephardi and Mizrachi United

Black Jewish Lives UK

XR Jews

Josie O Driscoll, Chief Officer Hertfordshire Gypsy Traveller Project

Rose Marie Maughan, Irish Traveller, County Louth, Ireland

Muslim engagement & development

Julian S Morley

Dr Roisin Byrne

Sherrie Smith, Gypsy-Travellers Essex

Professor Brian Cathcart, Kingston University London. 

Dr. Sophie Allen, Keel University 

Cllr Sally Hinkley, Bexley, London 

Karen Lawerence

Allison Hulmes, Gypsy Roma Traveller Social Work Association 

Jackie Bolton, Gypsy Roma Traveller Social Work Association 

Gemma Lamb

Jenny Manson & Leah Levane, co-chairs Jewish Voice for Labour

Dr Andrew O Baoill, NUI Galway Ireland

Charlotte Mounsey

Helen Belcher, Chair TransActual CIC

Wendy Mounsey

Gemma Mounsey

Chelsea Johnson, Essex

Alice Oatfield,

Llwela Parri, Performing Arts Tutor

Chris Kidd

Alexandra Fiddes

Pongo Pigpen-

Michael Szpakowski, artist 

Ciara Bud

Zaid Green

Michael Lomotey

Marie Bowers, Edinburgh University 

Bozevannah Boswell, Undergraduate student 

Mx Sephe Stewart, Scottish Traveller 

Thomas McDonagh

Ann McDonagh

Aahlegish Lally-

Kevin McDermott-Eire

Rebecca Jackson- Galway Eire

Anne Marie Silbigner, Poet, Limerick, Ireland

Sarah Fox, London 

Chleo Mulcahey, Teacher

Tom Cardwell, Marketing Professional 

Erik Fennly

Kate Chandler, Engagement Coordinator 

Ruth Watson

Scarlett Assvadian

Valerie Mackenzie, Aberdeen, Scotland 

Neill Chisman

Nicola Siddall-Collier

Will James Byrne

Dr Lynne Tammi

Kevin Blowe, Network for Police Monitoring

Marcia L. Moran

Solma Ahmed

Aycan Akyuz

David Konyot

Chris Barltrop

Huw Sawyer, business writer

John Austin, former MP

Catherine Mitchell

Revd Robert Beard

Ben Goren

Natalie Forster

 

 

 

 

 

Our Truth. Our Voice. Traveller Movement Annual Conference is going online - 12th November 2020


This year we're doing things a little differently!

It's so important that despite the challenging circumstances everyone has found themselves in that our annual conference continues to provide a platform for information sharing, and a vital online space for discussion.

This year's conference, Our Truth. Our Voice, will speak truth to power and reclaim the toxic narrative that dominates the media and political discourse. The conference will bring together activists and changemakers who will discuss how this can be achieved. Now is the time to reshape the narrative, and discuss solutions for the advancement of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers across every area of life.

You can book your tickets here

Find out more about Our Truth. Our Voice conference here.

The Traveller Movement's annual conference is going online in 2020

For Immediate release 

Date: 21st of September 2020  

 

Tickets now on sale for our first ever virtual conference!   

 

The Traveller Movement is very happy to announce that our annual national conference takes place on Thursday the 12th of November, 2020.  

For the first time ever, the conference will take place completely on line, with attendees joining from the comfort of their own homes.  

Entitled Our Truth. Our Voice, this year’s conference is a response to the negative fallout from the C4 Dispatches programme in April of this year.  View the conference brochure here

‘Our Truth, Our Voice’ will give Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people the opportunity to regain control of the toxic public narrative that permeated public discourse in 2019/20. From the Home Office consultation to criminalise trespass in November, to the negative media coverage of Gypsies and Travellers under the Covid-19 pandemic, to the C4 programme criminalising an entire ethnic group, it’s been a difficult year for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people. Clearer now more than ever, is the need to reclaim the narrative and take positive action.  

Speakers include the chair of the Youth Justice Board, Keith Fraser, activist Luke Smith and Rom Belong programme coordinator, Chrissie Brown. Also joining us is  Dr Omar Khan, formerly of Runnymede Trust and Director of newly established Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO), as well as MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana, and Jennifer Moses, equalities lead with NASUWT, the Teachers’ Union.  

The four interactive workshops will take place in the afternoon, with virtual break out rooms and trained facilitators. Each workshop will focus on a key policy area: education and economic inclusion; media representations; political engagement and democratic participation; and disproportionality in the criminal justice system.  

Join us online for our most innovative and accessible conference to date. https://www.travellermovement.org.uk/news

 

CEO of the Traveller Movement Yvonne MacNamara said the following:  

We are delighted our annual conference will go ahead this year. It’s been a very challenging year for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people but it remains important to challenge this government and hold them to account.  We look forward to seeing you all – online – in November!!!  

 

Ticket information 

Tickets can be purchased through Traveller Movement’s online portal, with joining instructions to follow in the weeks leading up to the event.  

For Conference updates, follow us on social media here: Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin  

 

ENDS 

 

Contacts  

Patricia Stapleton 

020 7607 2002 

Email address 

policymanager@travellermovement.org.uk  

 

Notes to Editor 

* The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community development policy and voice charity who campaign against discrimination, promote inclusion, participation and community engagement for the Irish Traveller and Gypsy communities in Britain. TM is proud to work in partnership with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities together with service providers and policy makers across the UK to better promote social inclusion and community cohesion. 

 

For more information and to book tickets, please visit our website:  https://travellermovement.org.uk/ 

 

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About us

The Traveller Movement is a national community charity promoting inclusion and community engagement with Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

The Traveller Movement seeks to empower and support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to advocate for the full implementation of their human rights.

Address

The Traveller Movement,
The Resource Centre,
356 Holloway Road,
London, N7 6PA.

Tel 020 7607 2002 | Fax 020 7607 2005

Registered Charity: 1107113

Company limited by guarantee no. 4038939

Accreditation

This year's conference, OurTruth. Our Voice, will look at speaking the truth to power and reclaim the narrative that dominates the media and political discourse. The conference will bring together activists and changemakers who will discuss how this can be achieved. It’s now time to reshape the narrative, and discuss solutions for the advancement of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers across every area of life.

You can book here for our online Annual Conference.