Me sem rom!

By • on October 5, 2011

On Saturday 1st October, over 300 people, mostly Roma, attended a “pride and dignity of the Roma” march in Bucharest aimed at drawing attention to the discrimination that the members of this ethnic group are subjected to. The march “Me sem Rom, Me sem Romni” (I’m Roma, I’m Roma woman) was attended by children, young students, Roma and non-Roma activists and people from all over the country who came to Bucharest at the invitation of the organizers. The representatives of Romani CRISS, a NGO that was also one of the organizers, urged all Roma to proudly declare their ethnicity in the census that will take place between 20 and 31 October in Romania.

Magda Matache, the executive director of Romani CRISS, told those present that by this march will show that they are proud of their ethnicity. The event was also an act of solidarity with the Roma from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia that have been recently subjected to extremist attacks. “Please show pride and declare your ethnicity to the census that will take place between 20 and 31 October”, Magda Matache told the participants to the march. The Roma actress Doiniţa Oancea also told them that never in her 28 years of life has she ever been ashamed to be Roma, even if she occasionally had problems after admitting her ethnicity. ”What the majority of people should know is that crime has no color. The Roma should no longer be associated with criminality, since the ethnicity comprises good, clean, beautiful and talented people who are well-educated too”, she said.

A representative of the Association of Roma Students read a letter sent by Mark Gitenstein , the U.S. Ambassador in Bucharest.”It is important that all Romanians should value Romani traditions and the next census should be a time to demonstrate that you are proud of your ethnicity”, Mr. Gitenstein wrote.

A woman who joined the protest said that such anti-discrimination events are not enough without a “policy statement”. She added that “every forest has its brushwood”, but all over the world, the blame is cast on minorities in times of crisis.

Before leaving the march, a Roma girl sang the Roma anthem, accompanied by some of the participants in the protest. The participants wore white shirts with “Me sem Rom” or “I’m sick of racists” written on them, in display of their solidarity with the Roma.

The pride march “Me sem Rom, Me sem Romni” was organized by several NGOs fighting for the rights of Roma, and was held simultaneously in several European countries.