Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2021
June is Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month which celebrates the many contributions they make to Britain. We are therefore raising awareness of the achievements, rich cultures and issues encountered by Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters, starting off with some fantastic resources curated by one of our Librarians of Showman heritage.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month is a celebration of the many positive and broad-ranging contributions that people from these communities have made and continue to make in Britain and around the world, from their accomplishments in academia, the arts and entertainment, to their skilled trades in local economies.
Furthermore, it commemorates the Porrajmos or Devouring, the murder of hundreds of thousands of Gypsies by the Nazis, who are still persecuted in Europe and the UK today. The Porrajmos is also remembered by Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, Romani Resistance Day on 16 May and Roma Genocide Remembrance Day on 2 August.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month therefore also aims to debunk the stereotypes and expose the prejudices that people still face every day, give voice to these much-maligned groups and engender community cohesion.
The first formal event took place in 2008 following its approval by Lord Adonis, the then UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools.
The Office for Students states that “Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils have the lowest attainment in compulsory schooling of all ethnic groups, which in turn impacts their access to higher education. To address the underrepresentation of people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in higher education, providers must act on barriers to school success… and higher education providers have important roles in supporting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to access higher education, both individually and collaboratively.”
Throughout June, we and other organisations across the country, will be sharing information and providing activities to raise awareness of the achievements and rich cultures of and issues encountered by Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, who are recognised ethnic minorities in the UK, plus Showmen and Boaters, who are cultural minorities.
To start off, one of our Librarians of Showman heritage has curated a reading list with an accompanying Wakelet where you can find out more about Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater communities. These fantastic resources provide summaries and links to learning materials and research, much of which is available via Leeds Beckett’s Library and the Leeds Beckett Repository, as well as to free online information from other institutions and Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater organisations. In addition, you can find out about The GTRSB into Higher Education Pledge.