Story and photos by Bibiana Jordan-Horvath
8th April is International Roma Day. Roma culture, heritage, language and traditions are celebrated globally and Sheffield embraced this idea.
In these photos are Sheffield activists, educators, mentors and great people inspiring and advocating for Roma peoples and their human rights.
Firvale Community Hub (formerly Pakistan Advice and Community Association) opened its doors on Sunday 7th April to mark this occasion.
There was singing, dancing and music by talented young Romas. Some delicious food was cooked and served by Roma families. I was well looked after by my students and mentees who really enjoyed the day.
One of the young people said:
“We wish we can have more celebrations like that so people can see Romas are not bad people and we want to learn more about our own history to make us stronger and more interesting to others.”
On 8th April, at an event at the Town Hall, Roma Futures called for International Roma day to be celebrated by tackling inequalities and ‘Anti-Gypsysism.’
The day was opened by primary school Roma singers, performing a very moving Roma hymn. The venue was decorated by Roma art work and artefacts and one banner particularly caught my eye: Not about us, without us!
Roma and non-Roma speakers followed with a similar message:
“We must fight inequalities, lack of information dissemination and overcome barriers to public services, including education for Roma people and children living here, in sanctuary Sheffield!”
Both events were supported by local councillors and police.
Personal stories about overcoming rigid systems, prejudices and making dreams come true, were balanced by discussion of the current situation facing Roma people.
Together we can give a voice to the Roma population living locally, and help to create a successful and integrated community on our doorstep!
For more information contact: www.romafutures.org