October 1st, 2022 is an important day for our partners in Serbia and Hungary, as the official start of the census implementation in both countries. Following months of intensive reach out to Roma communities both online and on the field, our teams are looking forward to the census implementation, prepared to monitor the procedure and assist Roma citizens in solving any rising issues.
The importance of this day is emphasized among our larger translational community who came together to indicate their support for the upcoming census in Serbia and Hungary. Listen to their messages below.
Nicu Dumitru (Aresel, Romania) – Hello! I am Nicu Dumitru from the civic platform, Aresel. I am Romanian, I am Christian, I’m an activist, and most importantly, I’m Roma. Being a Roma transcends all boundaries, all cultures and always brings us together. Even if we went through hardships such as the Holocaust or slavery in Romania, our people have always preserved their identity. There are 12 million Roma in Europe and only together we can stay strong. The list contributes by laying bricks on this foundation. Own your own identity! Declare yourself as a Roma!
Giuliano Dumitru (Aresel, Romania) – I am Dumitru Giuliano from the Aresel Civic Platform in Romania. I’m proud to be a Roma. I belong to the largest ethnic minority in Europe. Together we are more than 12 million. Being a citizen of your country does not mean that your Roma rights are revoked. Wherever you live in Europe, does not affect your Roma identity. Whether you live in Germany or in England, you still remain Roma. We are strong and we are many! We fought to exist as a Roma minority in Europe. Our ancestors fought so that we could live freely today! It’s a shame to deny your ethnicity. If you want to be strong, say who you really are! If you want to exist, say who you are! Don’t let others tell you who you are! Be proud to be a Roma! Stay strong! Opre Roma!
Béla Rácz (1Hungary Initiative, Hungary) – Dear Hungarian-speaking brothers, sisters, and friends living in Serbia! My name is Béla Rácz, I live in Budapest. I am Hungarian and Roma. I am speaking to you because soon, on October 1st, the census will begin in Serbia, just like in Hungary. The census is important because it is a process that examines and assesses the social, economic and societal situation of citizens in our countries. This concerts us Roma too! It is very important that in this census, we Roma identify ourselves as Roma! Both in Serbia and Hungary, the Roma communities are in a very bad situation. We are equally affected by discrimination, racism and anti-Gypsyism. We Roma find our identity, which is both Hungarian and Roma, in our communities, in our families. I encourage everyone to declare ourselves Roma at the census, to be proud of our origins, our families, and our communities. Opre Roma! Good luck, brothers and sisters.”
Miglena Mihailova (Roma Standing Conference, Bulgaria) – Greetings to everyone from Serbia. My name is Miglena Mihailova, I’m from Bulgaria. I am a Roma woman and I am proud of my origin. I am proud of the heritage left to us by our ancestors, our mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers. I am also proud of the present because we have many examples of pride around the world. The population census in Serbia is coming up. This is an event that is extremely important for the whole country, but also for our Roma community. Because according to the data that will be obtained from this census, it will depend on which funds the Serbian state will distribute to improve the living conditions of the Roma. We Roma are very different. It is the same in Bulgaria. There are Roma here who do not speak the Romani language. They speak Turkish. There are Roma whose mother tongue is Bulgarian, like me. But that does not make us part of another community. We are Roma and we belong to this community. That’s why I invite all Roma in Serbia, no matter what language you speak in the upcoming census, consider yourself Roma, declare yourself as Roma because this is extremely important for you, for the future of your children and our entire community.”