Jewish, Gypsy and Traveller communities in Britain will work together on hate crime, Holocaust remembrance, welfare and human rights following a series of meetings in Leeds.
The Board of Deputies joined Leeds Jewish Representative Council, human rights charity René Cassin, Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange in the city.
Delegates visited Leeds GATE, which focuses on homes, health, education and employment for Gypsy and Traveller people and CATCH, in the Harehills district – a diverse, multi-faith and multi-ethnicity youth club including many Roma young people.
A working lunch discussed the relationship between participating communities.
“Because of our history the Jewish community is acutely aware of where racial prejudice can lead us,” said Marie van der Zyl, Board of Deputies.
“Racism remains a stain on our society, we stand in solidarity with other minority groups who are facing obscene levels of hostility.”
Simon Phillips, Leeds Jewish Representative Council director of interfaith noted that the communities had much in common in terms of the importance of family, a pride in culture, heritage and a commitment to tackling hate crime, racism and prejudice.
“The Jewish community have always had a strong belief in supporting the rights of minorities,” he said.
“Whilst some of our common ground is inevitably our experiences of being demonized, excluded and subject to hate, what is really exciting to explore is our shared experiences of promoting human rights, peace building and resilience,” added Helen Jones, Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange.
“It’s been an extremely positive few days,” commented Mia Hasenson-Gross.
“We have tragic historic ties as well as shared current and pressing issues such as rising hate crime. These are best tackled through building strong relationships and an understanding of the experiences of our respective communities.”
The ongoing programme addresses stereotypes communities might experience.
Communal organisations attended a round table discussion and the Board of Deputies participated in a Hyde Park memorial ceremony to remember Roma and Sinti victims of the Nazis.