The Executive of ACERT would like to wish our friends and supporters the best of luck for 2019 … we’re going to need it!
Brexit has dominated the political agenda for the past two years, and shows no sign of taking a back seat any time soon. All options seem possible, No deal, another referendum, a general election or even the deal on the table. Roma in the UK feel particularly vulnerable, but all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are threatened in a climate of nationalism, xenophobia and racism. The UK government seems incapable of learning the lessons on Windrush, treats asylum seekers in inflatables as a threat to national security and those who seek to prevent inhumane deportations as terrorists Looking to East and West we see the same and worse, with democracy and human rights on the back foot, increasing inequality and alarming alliances between plutocrats and autocrats.
Closer to home, successive governments have ignored a mass of evidence suggesting that the inclusion of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers through education and opportunities has stalled and gone into reverse. The network of TESSs has virtually disappeared, which has resulted in the organisation which supported them, NATT+, ceasing to operate. As an organisation NATT+ had similar objectives to ACERT, although with a more professional than community focus, and we are saddened to lose their advocacy.
On the plus side however ACERT had a very successful conference and elected a new executive with fresh ideas of how we can have greater impact. We will continue to work closely with Travellers’ Times, The Traveller Movement, London Gypsies and Travellers, the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Organisations and Friends and Families of Travellers; we are developing our Social Media presence and developing a campaign to reinstate local authority support for families attempting to access education. We’ll continue to work with the All Party Working Group and the Women’s Equality Committee, as well as individual parliamentarians and the DFE stakeholder group. And although we are not a casework organisation, we receive a regular stream of requests for help from community members which we try to address or refer to an appropriate organisation, such as the Community Law Partnership.
Our membership is small but committed, and we have a monthly mail out to 400 contacts, Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as the website. If you are interested in supporting our work practically please use the Contact ACERT page on the website. If you would like to support our work financially you can set up a small monthly payment via the home page of our website. We would be very grateful.
In spite of it all, we wish you a peaceful, prosperous and fulfilling year.
Te Aven Baxtale