June is Gypsy Roma Traveller Month
June is a wonderful time to celebrate the contribution of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in society. It also raises awareness of the negative stereotypes faced by the community.
Gypsies are usually people of Romani descent while Travellers are usually of Irish and Scottish descent, both are nomadic ethnic groups with their own unique identity, culture and history. However, these nomadic groups are not a homogenous group, but consist of many different types including Romani, Irish Travellers, Showman, Welsh Travellers, Scottish Gypsies, Eastern European Roma, as well as Bargees/Boaties and New Age Travellers. (Blog, Dr Vanessa Heaslip PhD).
Romani Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised as ethnic groups, and protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act (1976, amended 2000) and the Human Rights Act (1998). For over 500 years, Gypsies and Travellers have lived, worked and travelled throughout Britain.
Many from the community perform the same roles and duties in the working world as you or me, they’re doctors, lawyers, builders etc. See details (image above) of the London Gypsy and Traveller Group’s campaign for eradicating the discrimination against these communities.
Three fabulous characteristics identified by Dr Vanessa Heaslip, a nurse who researched into the communities thoroughly to understand their passions and challenges for her PhD:
A sense of family is deep–rooted in the Gypsy/Traveller community and that’s why when someone dies or is ill within their culture, there are usually lots of visitors at hospital from their loved ones. It’s culturally very important for families to be together during this time of need.
It’s not uncommon for Gypsies and Travellers to live near natural wonders like earth and the open air, evident when you see many gazing out of their windows to these natural views.
Many people have many amazing stories to share about their travels and their love for nature.
Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month – find out about events and the importance of this month directly from the communities themselves
Dr Vanessa Heaslip PhD, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University has written a blog on working with the gypsy community
Information for NHS workers regarding the health of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers
The Irish Chaplaincy work directly with these communities and have developed a huge host of information on their history and contribution