(by Juliana Penha)
Francisca, 16, from Slovakia will vote Yes “I will vote Yes because maybe it will be better for Scotland and will arise more jobs.”
Ronaldo, 18, also from Slovakia will vote No “I don´t know what will happen after. I am scared.”
Both of them participated at the public meeting organised by Roma Youth Project, Friends of Romano Lav and Crossroads Youth & Community Association, on 27th and 28th of August, at Govanhill Baths.
“I was happy to see people coming and engaging with us about the debate of the referendum. It is the first time I saw Roma people being interested in discussing politics”
explained Eva Kourova, Project Co-ordinator from Roma Youth Project.
As we approach the day for voting for the Scottish Independence draws nearer and with Scotland’s new diverse communities some questions arise: Do the EU migrant communities understand that they are they allowed to vote? and need to vote?
The main purpose of these events was to throw light on Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 for EU migrant’s communities living in Govanhill, especially the Roma communities.
The aim of these two events was to highlight two key items: firstly the participation of ethnic minorities, in this case Roma communities into the political debate. Secondly individuals who participated in these events are well informed about what is the ‘Scottish Independence Referendum’ and the effect that it would have on EU citizen and Scotland.
This event was organised by three young women, one from Czech Republic, one from Poland and one being Roma from Slovakia. In the past only men have been involved in politics and now we have women, young people with indigenous ethnic minorities together to decide on their own future.
Katarina Zborovianova, Community Project Worker from Crossroads Youth and Community Association went onto say
“I believe that we have achieved our main objective, which was to dismiss certain myths about the future of migrants after the referendum as well as to encourage people to register to vote.”.
The 2 events had 38 adults who attended (29 Slovak/Czech, 8 Romanians and 1 Polish). The most important outcomes was that 20 people registered to vote at these events with a further 2 given registration forms to complete and return to the office.
“Roma people have been systematically oppressed and marginalised for centuries. They have not usually been involved in decision making process. For some reason they were also not targeted by the referendum campaigns in Scotland. They are also citizens of Scotland and they have a right to be informed and also right to vote”
told Marcela Adamova from Friends of Romano Lav.
We need to celebrate the small changes to achieve the big ones.