Bringing the house down
On the 1st June Gypsies, Roma and Travellers gathered in Portcullis House, London to launch their second annual Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. Performers and speakers from every English region gathered in the Attlee Suite of Parliament’s Portcullis House to voice their support for the Department for Children Schools and Families backed initiative to combat the stereotypes that blight so many Gypsy and Travellers lives.
At a time where the racist killings of Romany people across eastern Europe are coinciding with a surge in support for extreme right wing parties such as the British National Party and the Hungarian Guard, the Gypsy and Traveller community has chosen to oppose racism with talent, and dignified pride. The launch in parliament is just the first of hundreds of events planned during the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month of June.
Opening the event, Julie Morgan MP commented that she was proud to support the initiative after hundreds of years of legislation that had criminalised the Gypsy community. She was joined by many speakers and performers from across England, from 13 year-old Irish Traveller Bridie Purcell who came to present the event from her unauthorised encampment beside the Greenwich Millennium Dome, to Romany
Gypsy Gloria Buckley MBE from Norfolk. Gloria Buckley MBE was keen to talk about the history of Britain’s enclosures which excluded so many Gypsies and Travellers from the English landscape, while Polish Rom Toby Gorniak spoke of his family’s plight from the holocaust and more recent persecution.
Performers included Christoff Bonner, grandson of Gypsy Rumba legend Jose Reyes, 14 year old Gypsy Jazz guitarist Isaac Lee and country singer Ambrose Cooper.
Photos by Patricia Knight