Strategies against antigypsyism

Strategies against antigypsyism

The international conference „Strategies against antigypyism“ took place in Tenerife on 12 and 13 December 2019. It was organized by the Karipen association in cooperation with the Ministry for Health, Consumers Affairs and Social Welfare of the Canary Island Government, Cabildo of Tenerife and Khetane Platform. At the invitation of FAGIC ERGO member, Gabriela Hrabanova, ERGO Network director presented strategies against antigypsyism from grassroots to EU level and vice versa.

The conference brought together political and public representatives from European, national and local, Roma leaders and activists countering antigypsyism.  Among them Soraya Post, ERGO Network co-chair, Romeo Franz, Member of the European Parliament for the Greens/EFA group and Juan Fernardo Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament. It also gathered many local and national Roma politicians from Spain, including Ismael Cortes, a Member of the Spanish parliament.

The conference focused on three topics: 1) the concept of antigypsyism throughout history up to present; 2) institutional antigypsyism and ways to combat it through politics and 3) antigypsyism and gender issues.

The historical aspect was covered by Iulius Rostas, visiting professor at the Central European University and the Spanish academic of Romani origin, Helios Fernandez. The main message was that over the centuries, but also in recent years, institutions have been perpetuating a paternalistic approach under the pretence of making Roma better, by changing the names of programs and policies aiming at including Roma in societies, but very often achieving only their assimilation. The important next step is to introduce the policy of reconciliation, to narrow the centuries of hardship of Roma.

It was also discussed that often Roma might not know how to describe and what antigypsyism is, however many experiences it on the daily basis. For example, school segregation is a reality in Spain, while Roma surnames or home addresses can lead to discriminatory practices when accessing jobs or advancing in the career.

On a positive note, the regional and local government of Canary Islands and Tenerife have shown interest in working together with the local association Karipen, not only by hosting this event, but also by allocating a budget line for Roma inclusion.

12th Edition of the FAGiC Awards for Roma development

12th Edition of the FAGiC Awards for Roma development

On December 4, 2019 FAGiC organised the 12th Edition of the FAGiC Awards, a ceremony with a double goal: on one side, it is an opportunity to reward Roma and non Roma people who contributed positively to the development of the Roma culture and the Roma community; on the other side, it is a big event to present FAGiC’s projects and activities.

This year, the awards went to:

  • Oncle Moncho for a lifetime’s work and contribution to Roma culture (post-humous) (Culture Award)
  • Oncle Peret for the promotion of Catalan Roma culture (Culture award)
  • Roma Women Association “Karing Vaxt” for the empowerment and promotion of Roma women (Association Award)
  • Educational team and parents of the school Juan Salamero for their fight against social exclusion (Education Award)
  • Hospital of Bellvitge for good practices with the Roma people (Health Award)
  • Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona for the promotion of inclusion of Roma people on the labour market (labour insertion award)
  • Eduard Carrera for the promotion of citizenship and harmony through the mediation especially with Roma people (mediation award)