1. How did Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month come about?
The GRTHM started in Brent in June 2001. It was organised by Rocky Deans Head of the Traveller Education Service. There was also support from the local Irish Traveller community.
There were a number of questions that were the drivers for the Travellers and Gypsies Cultural Month as it was called in 2001. These were:
- What can we do that will have a lasting positive impact in schools and within the local community?
- What will improve relationships between the settled community and the Traveller and Gypsy community?
- How can we showcase local talent from the Traveller and Gypsy community?
Since 2004 there has been a number of organisations lobbying for a national GRTHM. Lord Adonis Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools gave his approval in October 2007:
‘I have endorsed a national Gypsy Roma and Traveller History in June – the first will be in 2008. This will offer us all the chance to raise awareness and explore the history, culture and language of these communities, which is not usually included in the curriculum for all pupils. We can challenge myths, tackle prejudice and be in a position to offer a balanced debate about the issues. We will be able to celebrate the richness that Gypsy, Roma and Travellers communities bring to our everyday lives through their many varied academic and artistic achievements’.
2. What is the importance of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month for both Gypsy, Roma and non- Gypsy and Travellers?
The aims of the GRTHM are:
- Promote knowledge of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History , Cultural and Heritage
- Disseminate information on positive Gypsy, Roma and Traveller contributions to British Society
- Heighten the confidence and awareness of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to their cultural heritage.
- Celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture and heritage
3. How will Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month contribute to the ongoing fight for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller anti-discrimination and equality?
Through activities and information in schools, museums, libraries and the media we will be able to challenge stereotypes, contribute to community cohesion and understand the contributions that the GRT community has made to British society.