Dives le rromenqo – 8 April International Roma Day
46 years ago, on 8 April 1971, the first World Romani Congress took place in London and paved the way for greater unity of Roma in the world. The Congress declared 8th April as the International Day of Roma, a day to celebrate and raise awareness about Romani culture.
As much as the day is used to celebrate, we also use it as a day of protest, to raise awareness of the discrimination and exclusion faced by Europe’s largest ethnic minority, from segregation in schools to forced evictions, from hate speech to killings. This is especially important when we hear speeches inside the European Parliament that incite hate against Roma, as happened on 6 April during the International Roma Day debate in the plenary in Strasbourg by MEPs Mara Bizzotto, Angelo Ciocca and Tim Aker. These incidents must be strongly condemned by the European institutions and on national level to make clear that antigypsyism is never and nowhere acceptable.
We should use this day to go out onto the streets to show that we are united in our fight against antigypsyism and in our pride of Romani culture.
For ERGO Network, it is of vital importance that Roma are involved in the mainstream political events around 8th April and show that they are the main agents of change towards more participation of Roma in society. For the second year in a row, ERGO Network together with TernYpe international youth network invited 40 young Roma activists to Brussels to make their voices heard in the European parliament, and many of them also lead the celebrations and protests on International Roma Day in their home countries. It is great to see this strength and passion of Roma youth who take on the struggle for more dignity and confidence.
We need to follow the aims of the 1st Romani Congress in 1971 and unite our efforts to strive for equal participation of Roma in society, to be respected as equal citizens with the same rights.
The whole ERGO Network team wishes you a great inspirational Roma day!