John Kai Cole (24th May 1953 to 23rd January 2017)

John Cole

John Cole served as an Executive Committee member of ACERT until he became ill early in 2016. John worked as the coordinator of Traveller Education in Liverpool for 25 years, after training as a youth worker at Cartrefle College in North Wales. 

In his Eulogy, his  younger brother said “John was the loveliest, kindest, sweetest most caring person you could wish to know.” That was the experience of those of us who worked with him. He added, “John never liked to talk about his achievements, but from what others have said, he was well liked and much respected by the people he worked with, and worked for.”

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Welsh report on impact of loss of ring-fenced funding

The Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee have published the final report from their Inquiry into the Education Improvement Grant, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller and Minority Ethnic Children

The overall aim of this inquiry is to consider the impact of amalgamating the previously ring-fenced grants into the new Education Improvement Grant from 2015-16 on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller, and Minority Ethnic children. The inquiry will focus specifically on their educational outcomes and considered:

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ACERT Submission to the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry

Margaret Wood and Lisa Smith have compiled an excellent submission to the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry into tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities.

The submission covers a range of issues with which ACERT members and supporters will be familiar, but brought together in one document they comprise a powerful indictment of this and the previous coalition governments’ indifference and hostility to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller rights and inclusion.

It covers the failure to recognise or build on the achievements of the Labour Government, the inadequacy of the Ministerial Working Group Commitments, the impact of cuts and funding change and the unleashing of xenophobic and nationalist sentiments by the Brexit debate. Women and Children suffer disproportionately from the consequences of austerity and the submission doesn’t pull its punches. 

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Sad losses

ACERT is saddened to hear of the passing of two stalwarts of the struggle for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller rights. 

Peter Mercer MBE (22.1. 1934 – 17.1.2017) was the President of the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups and there are moving obituaries from Arthur Ivatts and Siobhan Spencer on their website. Thomas Acton has added:

From the beginning, Peter was a peacemaker within the Romani civil rights movement. He played a full role within both ACERT and the NGEC when those two organisations were at loggerheads, and simply refused to see their rivalry as relevant. He came to dominate the NGEC for one of its most productive decades in the 1980s before its change of direction under Charles Smith. Santino Spinelli’s nickname for him “The Gypsy Gentleman” summed up his character.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 resources


Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Friday, 27 January, 2017
How can life go on? 
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 asks audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime.

Resources include Roma life stories:

  1. Ceija Stojka (Chaya Stoyka)
  2. The Bock family
  3. Johann ‘Rukeli’ Trollmann
  4. Settela Steinbach
  5. Amalie Schaich
  6. Otto Rosenberg (also available as Easy Read version)

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