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. 

DOSTA! GRINTA! ENOUGH! demonstration success.

Lisa Smith, ACERT EC member speaks to supporters

A great day at this historic event which took place in Parliament Square, on Saturday 21st May, was attended by around 200 people. Brilliant speakers, excellent organisation and at the end a petition was presented at 10 Downing Street. The rally was a protest against the new Housing Act which redefines Gypsies and Travellers for the purposes of planning law.  Gypsy and Traveller rights, culture and equality are all under threat. ACERT was well represented by our Chair and other members.

A petition was handed in to 10 Downing Street.

The demonstration was led around Parliament Square three horses and carts.

Gypsy and Traveller protest and pride at Parliament Square on 21st May

Gypsies and Travellers from all over the UK will be holding a rally on Parliament Square on Saturday 21st May to challenge new housing and planning laws that both redefine our ethnic identity and that seek to deny us a culturally appropriate home, and to make a stand for Gypsy and Traveller pride and empowerment and against racism and prejudice.

The rally, called ‘Dosta, Grinta, Enough!’*, will begin at 12 noon in Parliament Square, concluding with four organizers handing in a signed petition with over 5000 signatures into Downing street at 4pm.

The petition, created by the march organizers and hosted by 38 degrees, protests against new planning laws that are being introduced that redefine “gypsy status” to only classify those of us who ‘travel’ for work purposes, removing any cultural or ethnic dimension.

The new laws will also effectively end the slow but steady increase in private Traveller site developments in the face of a dire national shortage of pitches for Gypsies and Travellers.

This demonstration is lead and organized by Gypsy and Travellers with support from many of the Gypsy and Traveller NGO’s, who say they will also be sending delegates to the rally.

A spokesperson for the march organizers said:

“These new laws will will limit the development of new Gypsy and Traveller sites and potentially threaten those of us living on existing public or private legal Traveller sites”.

“Many of us will be forced back into the road either because we will be made homeless, or in order to ‘prove’ our ethnic identity and heritage to retain our homes”.

“The rally is a people’s march welcome to all of those who support our cause, with community speakers, singers and should be a fun day out for all the family.”

For more information and travel details, you can check the rally’s facebook page.