International Romani Day (April 8) is a day to celebrate Romani culture, history and language, and to raise awareness of the issues Romani people still face. It was officially declared in 1990 during the 4th World Romani Congress, in honour of the first major international meeting of Roma representatives, 7-12 April 1971, in Orpington near London, UK.
Many of the 10-12 million Roma in Europe still suffer from poverty and exclusion. The existence of widespread anti-Gypsyism reinforces and aggravates their economic and social deprivation. These inequalities persist despite ongoing efforts at national, European, and international level to tackle anti-Roma and anti-Traveller prejudice, discrimination and crimes.
The new Council of Europe Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion (2020-2025) and the EU’s post-2020 Roma Strategy aim to promote and protect the human rights of Roma and Travellers in Europe, to combat anti-Gypsyism and discrimination, and to foster their social inclusion.
Roma Day is also a celebration of the Roma’s multiple contributions to our culture and diversity, their extraordinary artistic expressions in music, design, other arts and elsewhere. I am proud that our University has embraced the Roma Peoples Project in the Center for Justice. I have been privileged to accompany the Project and its extraordinary Founder and Coordinator, Cristiana Grigore, from the beginning. The Roma Peoples Project spotlights Roma peoples and expands Roma studies by examining topics such as identity and stigma, mobility and displacement, and archival research and digital scholarship.