The Irish Traveller Movement recognises that anti-Traveller racism has eroded Travellers’ belief in their own identity, especially for younger Travellers and that specific initiatives are needed to the highlight achievement and contributions across the Traveller community.
ITM has undertaken a number of initiatives to create a greater understanding and acceptance of Traveller culture in society where Travellers are able to express who they are without fear of discrimination from settled or Traveller community- including looking at diversity within the community. These events and discussions take place over the course of the year, but there is specific focus on events for Traveller Pride Week, which takes place annually, with the key event each year being the Traveller Pride Awards.
Traveller Pride Awards
The Irish Traveller Movement created the Traveller Pride Awards in 2009 to celebrate Traveller achievements across the island of Ireland and the contributions that Travellers make to their own community to Irish society. The Awards also highlight some of the obstacles that exist for Travellers in Irish society. The ultimate aim is to instil pride, increase expectations and celebrate Travellers’ undoubted positive contribution to Irish life – and also the pride and determination one must have in order to succeed as a Traveller.
With the support and participation of seven other national Traveller organisations in the Traveller Pride Steering group, the Traveller Pride Awards has become the annual national flagship event for Travellers. It is uniquely placed for Travellers to celebrate the achievements Travellers continue to make to Irish society despite the barriers they face. It also is a real opportunity for non-Travellers to learn about Travellers in a positive manner to counter anti-Traveller rhetoric and stereotyping.
Awards are presented for achievement in:
- Enterprise and employment
The Traveller Pride winners are recognised for their passion, commitment and hard work and that in recognising their accomplishments. The Awards will hopefully inspire Travellers across the island of Ireland in other areas to continue with the work they do or to encourage other Travellers to participate in projects or activities that promote the positives of Traveller identity in Irish society.
Other ITM initiatives supporting Pride in Traveller Identity
The Irish Traveller Movement has and will continue to create spaces for innovative debates on Traveller identity and how it is changing- including debates on sexuality, the role of women and men, such as at our AGM & Conference. As part of Traveller Pride Week, the Irish Traveller Movement has published two booklets which highlight this diversity called Inspiring Traveller Women (in conjunction with the NTWF) and Inspiring Traveller Men. Both of these booklets have proved to be hugely successful, with demand equally from on-Travellers (including schools and community groups) as Travellers. ITM also published a collection of articles by Traveller Writers in 2011 where Travellers from diverse backgrounds wrote about their identity and culture.
The ITM recognises that discussions on Traveller identity needs to be led by Travellers. ITM has always supported Traveller leaders, locally and nationally, and their role as role models. Specific discussions have taken place on gender, sexuality and ethnicity with our members across the country and new membership spaces are created to meet our members needs in exploring culture and creating a sense of pride in Traveller ethnicity which reflects the diversity within the community.
The Traveller Roma Inclusion Unit of the Department of Justice & Equality funds and supports Traveller Pride Week