Roma political participation - rpp

Name: Candy Sheridan
Year of birth: 1960
Job: Gypsy Traveller spokesperson and former District Councillor, North Norfolk
Country: UK

1. Why did you decide to enter politics?

I entered politics more by accident than design. I stood up against a supermarket being built upon an old market/auction site where Gypsies meet and trade. Being a well-known Traveller woman I was delighted to get elected. I became a voice for those that could not read or write and felt criminalised by local authorities.

2. How did you succeed in politics?

By being honest, by building bridges with other communities, by listening and telling people what was really possible. I was re-elected for a second term by a huge majority, so my openness appealed to people. I was always “The Gypsy Councillor” and this appealed to local people who felt ignored.

3. What political achievements have you accomplished?

Getting two Council Transit sites passed plus championing those without a voice. I have delivered personally nearly 45 homes for Gypsies and negotiated numerous paths forward without forceful evictions being used. 

4. Who is your role model?

My father as I inherited his “sense of injustice gene” and have always followed his example of trying to speak up for those that cannot. And my late husband who always wanted me to see things to the end and never give up. I practice both of these daily.

5. What advice can you give to young Roma with regards to how to succeed in politics?

Start with a small local group and a single issue, grow this and join with other groups, listen and learn from these other groups and get to know the local Councillors. If you have passion and can speak from the heart people will listen. Use these talents to get elected and this will be the best possible education. I learnt so much and the council championed me, make them you deserve this recognition!
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