International Roma Day! Share, celebrate, raise awareness

 

INTERNATIONAL ROMA DAY – CELEBRATIONS OF A ROMANI EMANCIPATION MOVEMENT BEING BORN

 

Let us take you through a brief history of how our flag, language and anthem were officially recognized. In the end, embrace with us our diversity and hop on board for our visual journey, ‘from the caravan to the palace’:

 

Forty-three years have passed since the First World Roma Congress was held in Orpington, near London, in 1971. Officially, 8th of April was ratified as an International Celebration Day during the 4th World Romani Congress held in Poland, in 1990. Since then, this date has had a special place in the calendar of all Roma, as it marks an important moment in the history of the Romani Emancipation Movement. It became the day during which we celebrate the International Roma Day, a day to bring forth our beautiful, diverse culture and traditions, but also one of remembrance. The many hardships Romani people faced along the history, from the early days of their arrival in Europe, to the dire conditions they are still confronted with in today’s society, should not be forgotten in our quest for dignity.

 

http://romediafoundation.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/international-roma-day-celebrations-of-a-romani-emancipation-movement-being-born/

Romani Flag

Romani Flag

 

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SPEAK OUT! AND BE THE CHANGE On The International Romani Day! 

In light of today’s celebration, the International Romani Day, here is a picture with Alina Covaci Taba, one of the 5 women who wished to “Speak Out and Be the Change” and was along-side the Romedia Foundation when the “I’m a Roma woman” campaign started.
“We are five Roma women who wish to build a movement powered by us Roma women to shape our own image and empower ourselves and our communities as we share our experiences, our view of current issues, our vision of the future.”
SPEAK OUT! BE THE CHANGE!

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I’m a Roma Woman campaign video— 5 powerful Roma women speaking out for change. Join the campaign!

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Esma Redzepova sings The Romani Anthem to honor those Roma and Sinti who perished in O Porrajmos, the Holocaust

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A video history of Romani and Traveller people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6wSLfGBVGY

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What can I do today? 

For International Roma Day, use social media to inform your friends and followers about Romani culture and the current fight for Romani rights. You can post about it in your blog and/or take screen shots of your International Roma Day statuses, tweets, Pinterest, and Instagrams. Use hashtags wisely– for example, #nohatespeech, #RealGypsyWarrior, # RomaDay #RomaRights #OpreRoma

You can also take a more active stance, for instance, write articles, organize protests, inform companies like Gypsy WarriorJunk GypsyBand of Gypsies, and Spell and the Gypsy Collective that use the word “Gypsy” and the associated stereotypes as a brand that they are using an ethnic slur, exploiting an oppressed minority, and diminishing the fight for Romani rights. You can do this through email, Facebook, or Twitter. You can address and correct racist, offensive, stereotyping, and misinformed comments and articles about Roma. Social media is a powerful activist tool. 

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Some of my pieces about Romani rights and representation:

“Gypsy Soul: Romani fashion and the politics of dressing ‘Gypsy’”  essay in Quail Bell Magazine

“Real Gypsy Looks” photo shoot in Quail Bell Magazine

“Romani Looks, Romani Blood, Romani Challenges: Blond Gypsy Angels” essay in Quail Bell Magazine

“Free Spirits” photo tale and poem in Quail Bell Magazine

“We Rise Up” Short Story of the Week in Narrative Magazine, Pushcart nominated

 

Gypsy Soul: Romani Fashion and the Politics of Dressing “Gypsy” in Quail Bell Magazine

I’m so thankful to have my article published in Quail Bell Magazine http://www.quailbellmagazine.com/3/post/2013/12/folkways-gypsy-soul.html!

I’ve had a lot of fun writing about Romani culture in QBM and I’m looking forward to being a regular contributor. This article is the culmination of flipping through countless magazines, many tumblrs, pinterest pins, fashion blogs, and saying “THIS ISN’T GYPSY FASHION!” aloud to myself in various humors of rage and hilarity. It’s also the culmination of endlessly reading people who do know what they’re talking about, like Dr. Ian Hancock, Oksana Marafioti, and others;  talking with intelligent friends about the topic at length (thanks, guys) at parties and in class; working with my bright bunch of students; and staring at the photo of great-great grandmother Mathilde, the last dancer in the family, unless you count me (and usually I don’t). Basically, it’s a whole lot of love for Erika Varga, real Romani fashion, and a desire to create a dialogue about the politics of “dressing Gypsy” and the harm that comes from perpetuating stereotypes through fashion and popular culture. The next time magazines like Vogue or Cosmopolitan feature a “Gypsy” photoset, I hope that they talk about Romani fashion and culture, because frankly, all moral questions aside (although they are frightfully important), it’s a lot more interesting than the usual nonsense that passes for “Gypsy” style.

Here are some of Varga’s Romani Design creations for you to get excited about:

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varga1          ROMANI-DESIGN-WOMAN-Helena-Varga

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