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In memory of Juana Fernández Cortés

Tribute. Passing of the founder of the Federació d'Associacions Gitanes de Catalunya (FAGIC), promotor too of numerous initiatives for the rights of the Roma people and their cultural heritage.

Barcelona City Council’s Municipal Council for the Roma People pays homage with this statement in memory of Juana Fernández Cortés:

Today, 7 January 2021, the Roma people of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain mourn the sad loss of Juana Fernández Cortes, or Juana, for all of us who knew her. She represents the finest example of struggle and perseverance, an icon and example in the history of social activism and the fight against institutional anti-gypsy sentiment, the defence of the rights of the Roma people and of our cultural heritage.

There are no platforms, federations, work groups or boards devoted to Roma matters that Juana had not been actively linked with or even created, her unconditional involvement an ever-present as she put her heart into it, her courage, her commitment, her altruism and, far too often, even her own health.

Notable aspects of her career over the last thirty years include:

– Promotion of the initiative to recover the Roma language in Catalonia.
– Promotion of the organisation and recognition of International Roma Day on 8 April.
– Cofounder of Lacho Baji Cali de Gornal.
– Founder of the Federació d’Associacions Gitanes de Catalunya (FAGIC).
– Member of the Junta d’Unió Romaní and cofounder of Veus Gitanes.

Juana Fernández, may she rest in peace, was the first gypsy woman to hold an institutional post for the rights of our people in Catalonia, through the vice-presidency of the Municipal Council for the Roma People, a position with Barcelona City Council which she held for eight years. Her current role as part of this council was the most prestigious position which exists for our people, that of “person of recognised value”, the result of her aforementioned career and her completely selfless work for the rights of the Roma people.

It would take a book to document her entire career.

Our most sincere condolences to her relatives, mother, sisters, brother, nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts and uncles, and all of this great family who were always there for her and who were always in her thoughts.

May she rest in peace.

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