It is time for many to speak about our heritage. It is time to set the record straight about our neglected or marginalized language. We are not hiding our Romani/Gypsy identity anymore. Our language and culture must be respected and given equal ethnic status. It is time to reclaim our true Romani identity and ethnicity.
How do we engage in Roma/Gypsy activism? At a time of continuous erosion, cultural appropriation and assimilation that has pushed Welsh Roma/Gypsies and many others into further marginalization.
At a time when prejudice against young Roma/Gypsies is on the rise, new voices in art, music, activism and literature are rising.
How do we harness the challenge of reimagining and renovating a contemporary vision of our culture for future generations? At a time when organized vocal divisiveness is on the rise. How do we engage in the worldwide conversation about diversity among GRT peoples?
Let's start a conversation. Let's hear about news and updates. Let's hear from you.
In one of our email exchanges about Shikawa, Bob Lovell tells about the donkey and its important role to Welsh Gypsy families.
Bob writes, “Awa, I forgot one really important animal I missed in my narration of Shikawa. I missed the marla – the donkey. The donkey was one of the most important friends of our old Puri folkie. Before the time of Vardos it was always donkey’s and bender tents. The thing about tents is the proper name, Kantuna.
I think the Welsh and more so in the valleys and mountains, got on with our Folkie rather well. We were not flashy. Just hard working Folk who saw that in Wales we shared the same sorts of problems. I mean even the Welsh chapel isn’t flash - no big cathedrals - just plain little churches or halls.”
Do you have a tambourine?
I was asked that question when I said that I am of Romany/Gypsy ethnicity. I had to tell my questioner that he was using a stereotypical image. Done with humour, which we both laughed off (he later apologized) I was nevertheless taken aback and reminded of all those little Esmeralda’s wearing their Halloween costumes and shaking a tambourine. Nothing at all like the life Esmeralda Lock tragically lived that was certainly not romantic.
One of my writer friends wrote an article titled, “My Roma ethnicity is not a costume.” She does a good job of explaining how insulting it is to be a grown, accomplished and mature women, reduced to a childish caricature of our rich and diverse Romani identity.