Phase 1: Romaday #Self-confession

Posted on December 3, 2021 by Stephanie Ballantine

Romaday Parade © Stephanie Ballantine

On 8th April 2021, Roma around the world celebrate the 50th anniversary of the First World Roma Congress, which took place in the UK on 8th April 1971. For the first time, Roma from both Eastern and Western Europe raised their voices in the fight against antigypsyism and in a common struggle for a better future. It was the breakthrough for a new political movement, with 23 representatives from nine countries taking part. The term “Roma” for “people” was accepted as a self-designation to create a new common self-awareness and to demand the recognition and respect from society.

The foundations of the international Roma emancipation movement were complemented by the new anthem and flag adopted by the 1971 Congress. But even 50 years later, many Roma still do not openly show their identity, out of well-founded fear of discrimination and rejection in various forms: from losing a job and having less of a chance to get a flat, to verbal and physical attacks and police violence. The mere confession of oneself and one’s own identity can therefore by no means be taken for granted in 2021. We therefore take the 50th anniversary of World Romaday on 8th April as an opportunity to reflect on self-confession.