Phiren Amenca

Training on antigypsyism and civic participation of young Roma

Between 22 and 25 of July 2019, a 4-days training was held in Moieciu de Sus, Romania, attended by 30 young Roma people, from around Bucharest and from youth initiative groups from Mizil and Valea Seacă. Throughout the training we focused on the topic of antigypsyism volunteering and civic participation.

The first day was dedicated to getting to know the participants, set our own rules, share our expectations, fears and contributions. We also created space for the youth initiatives to present their activities, share their experiences and materials. From the second day we started to go deeper into the concept of antigypsyism and its manifestations, shared personal experiences of discrimination and racism as well as shared examples for institutional racism and antigypsyism. We also shared good practices and tools to challenge antigypsyism.

On the third day, we held a workshop on volunteering and involved young people in activities to discuss what volunteering means for them or how they see volunteering in their community. They were divided into four groups and each group created a picture showing a volunteer action, after which each group explained what it meant for them.

This activity was followed by a workshop on public and political participation started with a game on leadership and self-confidence, then with discussions related to the concepts of “civic participation” and identified several forms of participation such as: flash-mob, protest, campaign, consultative meetings, advocacy actions, etc. These definitions were accompanied by images from different activities carried out by the groups. The purpose of this presentation was to make groups aware that they are already active participants, but that it is important to know how to name what they are doing and to continue to be involved in their community, but also in the society.

The rest of the training was a space for the involved participants to develop their own activities and initiatives in the context of 2nd of August, European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. There were four activities presented, a flash-mob with messages and information about the Roma holocaust; a story about a family that was killed by the Nazis; a video with images during the Holocaust and a story about discrimination and inclusion. A flashmob and a performance about the family story then was implemented on local level.

The training was a great opportunity for young Roma activists to come together, share their activities and experiences, learn from each other and to develop new tools and methods to challenge antigypsyism.

The training was organized by RGDTS as part of the Roma Youth Voices project, funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the DG Justice, European Commission.