On 8th June Mary hosted a meeting with Friends, Families & Travellers, the secretariat of the Gyspy Roma Traveller All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
Mary listened to the stories of those in the GRT community who have experienced racism and neglect from society. The meeting was called to highlight the ways in which the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will create many issues for the GRT community, effectively criminalising their way of life.
Testimonies were heard from several people of GRT heritage. These quotes from them particularly stuck with Mary, who chaired the meeting.
The bill is the beginning of the end of freedom, a dictatorship.
Nobody wants us.
It is an attack on our heritage, it is who we are and who we’ll always be.
Instead of being outlawed we want to be accepted.
To take our freedom away is a crime in itself.
Ask Priti Patel, ‘Where would you like the roadside women to go with their babies?’
Their ethnicity has been cleanse, it is an eradication.
As soon as you defend yourself, you out yourself to people who don’t want you.
Mary tweeted after the meeting: “These are the words of people who are trying to live a life that is slightly different from the one many of us know. Rather than demonise them for this, let’s work together to build a society that welcomes all of our communities and cultures.”