Raising awareness about antigypsyism among mainstream organisations
In ERGO Network we believe that positive change for Roma is possible when antigypsyism is recognized and tackled as the root cause for inequality, and when Roma can take part in civic life as equal stakeholders.
In the past couple of weeks, ERGO was invited to speak in workshops and events addressing antigypsyism among mainstream organisations and stakeholders.
For example, our Director Gabriela Hrabranova and our policy and project coordinator Mustafa Jakupov, together with Roma historian Michal Mižigár from the Czech Republic kicked-off a series of online workshops called “Addressing racism in the EU region” dedicated for staff learning and development of the British Council. The first session called “The social and historical context of the Roma minority in Europe and understanding antigypsyism” managed to attract 124 participants and received a lot of positive feedback and comments. One of the participants of the workshop shared:
“I actually pulled my headphones out and turned up the volume so my boyfriend could listen in as well in the background. It’s worth saying that he is not always completely ‘of the British Council school’ of respecting diversity and inclusion, particularly when it comes to Roma people. His father was a police officer in a small Romanian town for many years, and he grew up surrounded by a lot of prejudices about Roma people. We have had A LOT of arguments on this topic. Anyway, I can honestly say that he found it absolutely fascinating – he genuinely said it opened his eyes to perspectives he had never considered before. So thank you again. I’m very much looking forward to the second session.”
Our policy and project coordinator Mustafa Jakupov took also part in a session organized by Vodafone for the International Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination, as part of Vodafone’s global webinars on the important topic of inclusion, allyship and anti-racism. He was joined by the Baroness Floella Benjamin, who shared her life struggles and successes and Ezdihar Abdulmula, who spoke about Islamophobia. Mustafa shared about antigypsyism and why sometimes we feel uncomfortable to recognize or address it, as it challenges our privileged position and makes us admit to ourselves that we believe in the myth of the society run by merits, not privilege.
When it comes to standing up to racism, we must take the words of Baroness Benjamin that one way to oppose racism is to keep our 4 C’s close to heart and mind: consideration, contentment, confidence and courage!
Roma are the embodiment of the 4 C’s in Europe for over 700 years! And nowadays, we are the ones reminding Europe about its own values, which in the eyes of a pandemic are easily getting forgotten!