Lorcan Otway

Director and curator

Museum of the American Gangster

Lorcan Otway is the director and curator of the Museum of the American Gangster and a Juris Doctor. He is consulted by lawyers as an expert on marginalized cultural communities as well as by Romany, both people here and abroad, who have concerns about civil rights or sovereignty. Mr. Otway founded the now-defunct Lawyer's Committee for Romany Rights and Recognition, seeking similar rights for Romany Americans as those of American Indians. From the late nineteen eighties to the present, his work focused as well on issues of racial profiling and the forced migration of American Romany people.

Otway also worked with American Romanichal communities (English and Scottish American Romany people) and American Irish Traveller communities on issues such as voting rights, child custody, child welfare, and misrepresentations of Romany people--both in the press and popular culture. His efforts included translating the rights, needs, and aspirations of Romany people before a number of governmental bodies, from the Immigration and Nationalization Service (now Homeland Security) to the New York City Council. He also appeared as an expert witness in political asylum cases for Romany asylum seekers without economic resources.

In 2004 he delivered a paper on the racialization of American Irish Travellers as "Gypsy" at the Trinity Law School in Dublin, Ireland as part of Irish Traveller Awareness Week. Lastly, he has also assisted various American Native Nations in the United States and Canada on issues of sovereignty--from land rights and child custody to the reorganization of a tribal court, making it possible for the court to create written decisions to be respected by United States state courts.