International Roma Day 2016
Everyone in the South of Glasgow knows we have a very large Roma population here. I’m sure many of you also have an opinion on that population too. The attitude in the city towards the Roma population is changing as they themselves integrate like all migrant groups before them have done. But they haven’t always been afforded this luxury in Europe . Along with the Jewish and disabled population the Roma were top of the Nazi’s programme of extermination. To commemorate this, the Roma have their own Holocaust remembrance day held on April the 8th. After so many years of a large population of Roma living in the southside I still meet people who don’t know that International Roma day is a commemorative event and awareness day.
It is also a celebration of Roma culture with music, dance and food. So we asked Juliana Penha about Romano Lav’s programme of events for this year’s international Roma day…
The Roma flag.
‘International Roma Day (8th April) is celebrated every year, internationally, as a day dedicated to celebrate Roma culture and raise awareness about issues faced by Roma people. In Glasgow it has been celebrated since 2014 organised by Friends of Romano Lav with other partners, with a public procession, the first public procession by Roma people ever in the UK. This year we created a program of events based in Govanhill that will culminate with the public procession on 9th April.
The cultural program is comprised by a music concert with Ekarika Djal and Romane Cerhenia, the screening of a movie about Roma culture (Thursday 31st March, 6pm , Govanhill Trinity church), a photo exhibition (8th April 6-8pm , Govanhill baths) about different communities giving support for the International Roma Day and placards workshops for the march (Saturday 2pm till 4pm April 2nd, Govanhill Baths). Moreover, we will have a small event for the students of the Annette Street Primary School, where members from Romane Cerhenia, especially the children will do a small performance for the students. We also organized a placard workshop for the Annete Street school students and they created amazing creative placards.
Ekarika Djal and Romane Cerhenia. Check them out on Facebook, the music is stunning.
Something really important to say is that this is a community event. This year we had several meetings since February to organize everything, with a committee formed by members of the community, Roma and non-Roma and some partner organizations. At the beginning, during the first meetings we didn’t have any funding but we started to discuss and think about the event because everybody understands the significance of this event for Roma people, for Govanhill and for Glasgow. International Roma Day is a collective action. This year we had the support of Community Health Partnership which funded the International Roma Day and we had also a financial support of CRER. Friends of Romano Lav is working in partnership with community members and organizations such as Roma Society Scotland, Annette Street Primary School, Govanhill Housing Association, Crossroads, Govanhill Baths.
Images from last years procession with people enjoying it from their windows in Govanhill.
We are expecting to have the first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the opening of the photo exhibition on 8th April 6-8pm and we want to make sure Roma people can raise their voice and we will have volunteers to translate to Slovak and Romanian people. A group of local women will be baking for this event.
Before the public procession around Govanhill streets, on 9th April 12noon, we will have the speeches of Roma activists: Marcela Adamova, Iliah Shterev, Gillian Greene and the Glasgow MP Alison Thewliss. The political activist Joshua Brown will be the presenter. After the public procession, at Govanhill Baths we are planning to have a “food sharing” of different Roma traditional food.’
Images from the procession in 2014/2015 which had a large community turn out and support.
Once more the programme consists of the following events open to the public;
• Screening of a movie about Roma culture (Thursday 31st March, 6pm , Govanhill Trinity church),
• Placard workshops for the march (Saturday 2pm till 4pm April 2nd, Govanhill Baths).
• Photo exhibition (8th April 6-8pm , Govanhill baths) about different communities giving support for International Roma Day.
• Public procession around Govanhill streets, on 9th April 12 noon.
Romano Lav are based in Govanhill Baths (99 Calder St, Glasgow G42 7RA) and open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (10 am to 5pm)
Our phone number is 07470145625.
Our facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/friends.of.romano.lav
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