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Proposal to include the history of the Romani people in the school curriculum

Published Thu, 06/04/2017 - 15:53

Diversity. The motion, to be put forward in May’s full council session, is one of the actions linked to the plan to combat anti-Romani attitudes which is being drafted in collaboration with the city’s Romani entities.

The contribution by the Romani people to the culture and history of Catalonia in the last 600 years has more often than not been silenced or underestimated. For instance, in Barcelona one of the exponents of the anti-Francoist struggle was the Romani painter Helios Gómez, author of the Capella Gitana in the Model prison. Similarly, musical genres such as flamenco and rumba, with strong roots in different city neighbourhoods, can only be explained by the contribution of Romani culture to Catalan culture as a whole.

“The history of the Romani people is the history of our country”, explained the Deputy Mayor for Citizen Rights, Participation and Transparency, Jaume Asens. Because of this, May’s full council session will debate a motion urging the Ministry of Education at the Government of Catalonia to set up a working commission to create curricular materials on the history and culture of the Romani people in Catalonia.

The motion, calling for material to be developed with input from entities and representatives from the Romani community, is linked to the plan to combat anti-Romani attitudes currently being drafted by the City Council as part of a broader policy to combat hate and discrimination.

The Commissioner for Immigration, Interculturality and Diversity, Lola López, pointed out that the creation of the new plan and action corresponding to the local strategy on the Romani population are being developed using an intercultural perspective. To this end, since the start of this term of office, efforts have gone into bolstering social, educational and labour policies to reduce the vulnerability of the Romani collective, steering away from merely care-related action.

This intercultural vision, according to López, “boosts the empowerment of Romani residents and their participation in municipal policies through, for instance, the entities on the Municipal Council of Roma People“.

The Commissioner also highlighted the strengthening of the programme at the Espai Avinyó, which includes talks and cultural activities to explain, highlight and recover the historical memory of Romani communities. These are communities which have not been legally discriminated against since 1978 in Spain, but which to this day continue to be stigmatised for the mere fact of having a different culture, a different language and other customs.

International Roma Day

On 8 April commemorations mark the first World Romani Congress, held in Orpington (UK) in 1971, one of the central themes being to remember the Holocaust.

As part of the celebrations and activities being organised in Barcelona by Romani entities, the Romani flag will be hung from the balcony at the City Hall for the first time ever. Also, as from 9 pm on Saturday, the fountains in Montjuïc will be lit up in the Romani colours.


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