"You, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, can change things”…. says Ben Bennett

20 March 2018

TTs youth member,14 year old, Romany Gypsy, Ben Bennett delivered a captivating speech about racism experienced by Gypsies and Travellers at the Equality and Human Rights Commission conference in Liverpool last week.

The campaigner declared, “I will keep shouting and shouting at the top of my voice until the people get off their hands and put an end to racist England!"

Ben Bennett urged the Equality and Human Rights Commission to take action and act on the racial disparities Gypsy and Travellers experience in British society. 

He highlighted the shocking inequalities experienced by young Gypsy and Travellers, "across the UK 90% of Gypsy and Traveller children are missing from education.” He later went on to report that 1,500 alone were missing from education in his home county of Nottingham.

He spoke from his own personal struggle in Education, at just 14 years old he had attended 13 different schools despite living in the same place his whole life. A result of unresolved racism from staff and peers.

"So what has caused my experiences? I think it’s purely racist opinions and a profound lack of cultural understanding”, he added.

The young leader also raised the devastating impact of racism as a major barrier to access suitable accommodation and health care in the Gypsy and Traveller community. 

He left the commission with practical recommendations to implement, among them included, holding local authorities and the NHS to account for failing to comply with the Equality Act, to name and shame racist politicians, expose racist schools and make Gypsy and Traveller cultural awareness training  compulsory in the public sector and schools. 

Ben Bennett pledged to the commission, “one day I aim to be prime minister and will be making sure all ethnicities are treated equally”.

The rousing speech came to a close by Ben requesting a very poignant one minute silence to give tribute to the late Johnny Delaney a 14 year old boy brutally murdered in Ellesmere Port in Liverpool in 2003 for being an Irish Traveller. 

Well done Ben for your excellent advocacy, Travellers’ Times look forward to hearing from the Equality and Human Rights commission on how they intend to follow up your recommendations.