Gypsy and Travellers’ Event: ‘Not On My Watch’ at the Holocaust Centre
Jointly organised with the Racial Equality Council and Aegis Trust
26 April 2005
Chaired by Vickie Botton, Chair of East Notts Travellers Association (ENTA) and Afzal Sadiq, CE0, Nottingham REC
9:15 Registration with coffee, visit the Holocaust Museum and Exhibitions
9:50 Welcome to the Holocaust Centre by Aegis Trust
9:55 Overview and Introduction: Rodney Bickerstaffe,
President of the Labour Campaign for Travellers’ Rights
10:05 From the Holocaust to Today: Gypsies and Travellers in Europe
Dr James M. Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Aegis Trust
Film:Not On My Watch
Dr Michael Stewart, Rubin Research Fellow, University College, London
11:20 Eyewitness Accounts: Dr Trude Levi, Holocaust Survivor, and Peter Mercer MBE, General Secretary of the East Anglian Gypsy Council, UK Member of the Parliament of the International Romani Union, and Executive of the Roma Rights and Access to Justice in Europe (RrAJE)
12:15 Film:Remembering Johnny Delaney, followed by one minute's silence
Anna Kari’s – exhibition, The Roma Survivors of the Holocaust, Permanent Holocaust Museum, Memorial Gardens
13:40 Panel Presentation:
[Short 2-min clip on BNP and travellers' issues]
Andrew Ryder, Coordinator of The Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition (Chair);Rachel Carey, CRE; Martin Collins, Director of Irish Traveller Movement in Britain; Richard O’Neil, Chair of Gypsy Traveller Media Advisory Group
14:20 Workshops: to address issues raised
- Public Services: John Coxhead, Derbyshire Police, Travellers’ Team; Rachel Carey, CRE; Martin Collins, Irish Traveller Movement in Britain
- Health: Alison Farnsworth, Nottingham Gypsy and Traveller Partnership Health Team; Arun Patel, GP, Newark PCT
- Education:Helen Blow, Nottingham Gypsy and Traveller Partnership Education Team; Andrew Ryder, The Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition
- Real Diversity: Richard O’Neil, Sheffield University Traveller Law Research Unit and Chair of Gypsy Traveller Media Advisory Group
- Dialogue with Dr Trude Levi, Holocaust Survivor and Peter Mercer General Secretary of the East Anglian Gypsy Council, UK Member of the Parliament of the International Romani Union, and Executive of the Roma Rights and Access to Justice in Europe (RrAJE)
15:20 Plenary and Close of Event
Vickie Botton, Chair of East Notts Travellers Association (ENTA); Andrew Ryder, The Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition
15:30 Afternoon tea – networking and video/audio evaluation
Music: John Rooney
The exhibition will be open till 5:00 pm
Dr Rodney Bickerstaffe is President of the Labour Campaign for Travellers' Rights and has recently been elected as President of War on Want. Before his current positions, Rodney was President of the National Pensioners Convention between 2001-2005.
Dr James M. Smith, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the UK Holocaust Centre and the Aegis Trust), also oversaw the establishment in 2004 of Rwanda's national genocide memorial centre in Kigali. Editor of Rwanda, 10 Years On and co-editor of Will Genocide Ever End?, he has also designed multimedia educational tools, including The Racial State (1999) and 'The Holocaust and Genocide' (2003). A specialist in emergency medicine, Dr Smith worked with the International Medical Corps in Albania during the Kosovo crisis of 1999. He visited Darfur in late summer 2004 and in November authored the report 'Darfur: Management of Genocidal Crisis'. In March 2005, he launched the Protect Darfur campaign in the House of Commons.
Dr Michael Sinclair Stewart received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of London (LSE) 1988 for his work on: ‘Brothers in Song: The persistence of (Vlach) Gypsy community and identity in Socialist Hungary’. He has been a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, Budapest; a Rubin Research Fellow at the School of Public Policy, UCL; a Leverhulme Research Fellow, London School of Economics; a film producer in independent companies and the BBC. His own filmmaking includes Justice, What Magdalena Said, Scenes After a Revolution and Across the Tracks.
Dr Trude Levi is a retired librarian and archivist and a survivor of the Holocaust. Born in Szombathely, Hungary, she was a 20-year-old nursery school teacher when the Nazis occupied Hungary in March 1944. Briefly interned with her mother in the Szombathely ghetto, she was sent to Auschwitz in July 1944. She was then moved to Hessisch-Lichtenau, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, in August 1944, for use in slave labour. On her collapse during a death march in April 1945, the SS decided not to shoot her, believing she was already on the point of death. Trude frequently speaks about her experiences, and has written two books, A Cat Called Adolf and Did You Ever Meet Hitler, Miss? An edited version of her story appears in Survival: Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Story, published by the Holocaust Centre.
Peter Mercer, MBE lives with his family on the Local Authority Caravan Site in Peterborough. He is a retired Local Government Officer. Pete was formerly employed by the Peterborough Council for twelve years as the Traveller Gypsy Liaison Officer with a community development brief until he retired in January 2000. He is the General Secretary of the East Anglian Gypsy Council, a member of Parliament for the UK on the Parliament of the International Romani Union and the Executive of the Roma Rights and Access to Justice in Europe (RrAJE). He was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his work in Traveller Gypsy Education over many years.
Panelists and Workshop Facilitators
Andrew Ryder is the coordinator of the Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition, an umbrella group of Gypsies, Irish Travellers and New Travellers which lobbies the Government for more site provision. It recently won the Liberty Human Rights Award in recognition of its campaigning. Andrew worked for the British Council prior to this, where in addition to his teaching duties, he worked with Roma in Hungary, Jordan and Portugal on a number of educational research projects. Andrew's first contact with Gypsies and Travellers came as a result of his work as a secondary school teacher in Kent.
Rachel Carey works as a Project Officer for the Commission for Racial Equality’s Safe Communities Initiative (SCI), a project that seeks to provide support and development in preventing and responding to community conflict and tensions across the UK. Within this role, she has responsibility for SCI’s work with Gypsy – Travellers, Young People and key regional areas as part of SCI’s five cities project. Rachel also works in collaboration with colleagues in: Faith Communities; Incitement to Racial Hatred; and Asylum and Immigration.
Martin Collins is Director of the Irish Traveller Movement. Until recently he worked at the House of Commons with Kevin McNarama, who was the first Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform. He is former journalist and human rights lobbyist on Northern Ireland Issues.
Richard R. O'Neil was born into a large Gypsy Travelling family in the North East and followed a traditional travelling lifestyle before settling in the North West in the mid 1980s, where he set up and ran successful construction and leisure companies. Having always had an interest in health, in 1992 Richard became a community volunteer and trained as a practitioner of clinical hypnotherapy, becoming a full-time therapist in 1995. In 1996 his interest in men's health led him to launch a local men's health day, which expanded into an annual regional men's health week. He then successfully campaigned for and launched the first National Men's Health Week in 2002 and is currently the volunteer Director of the week.
Real diversity will explore the real diversity amongst our communities and focus on Gypsies and Travellers in particular, especially in the light of the recent statements from the Commission for Racial Equality and the publication of the results of the three-year study of Gypsy and Traveller health at Sheffield University. This study shows huge inequalities in the health of Travelling people in comparison to the general population. The session will provide a brief history of Gypsies and Travellers and indicate cultural and other barriers to accessing services – from health and employment to education and training – and practical ways of encouraging an extremely excluded community to engage with the wider community. The session will be interactive and encourage questions.