Pavee Point is an organization that’s committed to preserving the traditions and culture of Irish traveller and Roma communities. They have programs that focus on drug and alcohol addiction in the communities, the rights of the traveller and Roma population, and the education of the young travellers.
We were presented with a lot of really interesting and personal information from two people who are part of the traveller community, who also work in the organization. They told us stories about their lives growing up, the discrimination they faced, and how they overcame it. Their commitment to the organization came from the way they were scrutinized for where they came from and their culture. I enjoyed learning about the culture of travellers and how people who aren’t travellers judge and assume certain stereotypes about them.
One stereotype I had going into the presentation was regarding the weddings of travellers because of the TLC show, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. I had a feeling that not all gypsy weddings were like that, but I was really interested to see if any of it was true. I was prepared to ask their opinion of the show, but they had a section of their presentation committed to talking about it. They explained to us that there are weddings like that, but they are not the norm for travelling communities and that weddings are many times very simple. They seemed to not be happy with the way the show portrayed their community, which is understandable because there are plenty of shows about Americans that portray us in a negative way and might cause people to generalize those characteristics to every American. Those types of shows are meant to be shocking in order to get ratings.
Pavee Point seems like a really good group of people committed to their work. It is nice to see that there is an organization that wants to change the way travellers are perceived not only around Ireland, but also all over the world.