June 2010 will be the third year that Britain has celebrated Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.
There is a shocking amount of ignorance about the historic and cultural identities of the travelling communities in Britain. Few who are concerned about the impact of travellers on the greenbelt will pause to think about traditions that extend back half a millennium, more rooted in the history of the British isles than many would ever imagine.
As Jake Bowers writes on the GRTHM website:
“Quite simply, ignorance about who we are and where we come from leads to ruined lives. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month celebrates our culture and history by tackling the negative stereotyping and prejudices that have led to this situation.”
Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, History Month has gained international significance, Gay McDougall, United Nations Independent Expert on Minority issues, issuing a statement welcoming the United Kingdom’s commitment to recognising the contribution of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to British society [see the PDF below].
This year promises to offer the widest range of activities to engage the settled community yet. I hope it crosses your path in places other than this blog. More than anything, I hope we are all big enough to rise to the challenge of considering Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues with an open mind.