Apartheid in my backyard? Ministry among the forsaken: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

Clive Dudbridge, Chief Executive Officer of the Margaret Clitherow Trust, writes of the alienation from the Church felt by many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.

These days we are collectively, and rightly, repulsed by the discrimination fellow human beings suffer because they happen to belong to a different racial identity. We look back upon the horrors of apartheid in South Africa, the barbarity of ethnic cleansing during the Balkan conflict, or the present-day concerns highlighted by the Black Lives Matter campaign. Yet, all along in our own backyard there are very similar attitudes that would have been all too familiar in South Africa, or the Balkans, when it comes to the prejudice Travellers experience every day.

In April 2019, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee stated: ‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people have the worst outcomes of any ethnic group across a huge range of areas, including education, health, employment, criminal justice and hate crime.’1

Even the government recognises the plight of Travellers – but do we?

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