For immediate release
Date: Thursday 21st October 2021
Travellers have committed to stopping Traveller hate but are the social media platforms ready to?
The Traveller Movement, James Lawrence and Laura Angela Collins created a lot of noise on social media platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, Facebook for Hate Crime Awareness Week in attempt to #StopTravellerHate but are social media platforms ready to listen?
Last week across the country we saw many different campaigns attempting to raise awareness in regards to Hate Crime Awareness Week. One such campaign, led by community members James Lawrence and Laura Angela Collins, with support from the Traveller Movement, was created in response to the concern that social media platforms are either ignorant as to the effects of racism against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, or simply do not view it as an important enough issue to address with urgency.
The campaign lobbied TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and asked them to take hate speech against Gypsies, Roma and Travellers seriously.
They encouraged Travellers and allies to use videos, share stories, poems and pictures etc to get the message #StopTravellerHate across and they intend to take this campaign to its highest capabilities to ensure social media platforms are held to account and follow the acts put in place as Travellers in the UK are legally recognised as a ethnic group and protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act (1976, amended 2000) and the Human Rights Act (1998). In terms of health and education.
James Lawrence said:
“I just want to add that as a Traveller it’s horrible seeing the hatred we receive on a daily basis and that social media platforms allow large creators to openly discriminate against us and we have little support,”
Laura Angela Collins said:
“This campaign is very important and close to my heart, my grandmother was confined to Magdalene laundry in Ireland and died while there based on prejudice and hate, while my own mother was badly abuse for being Travellers child while confined to an industrial school”.
Recently the Irish government said Travellers face “ingrained institutional racism” that was a small step in the right direction but so much work has to be done to dismantle such and that starts with listening to those affected by it.
The Stop Traveller Hate campaign gives a direct voice to Travellers who deserve a safe welcoming place on social media, I hope social media platforms commit to the campaign and help to tackle hate crime alongside us as I believe this campaign can make a major difference for the younger generations to come to ensure my three children and their children don’t have to face the same prejudices my grandmother, mother and I have to face daily.”
Traveller Movement Policy Manager Greg Sproston said:
“There remains a great deal of ignorance amongst the general public as to the fact that Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller people constitute a distinct ethnic minority with legal protections. Sadly, it appears this ignorance also extends to decision makers at social media companies. It is vital for these companies to address the issue at root, and not allow their platforms to be used for the dissemination of content which is harmful, discriminatory, dehumanising – and in many cases – illegal under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010”
020 7607 2002
Laura Angela Collins
About the Traveller Movement
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.