Target: Claude Moraes, Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee, European Parliament
Goal: Increase political representation for the Roma people in Europe.
The Roma people, pejoratively referred to as “gypsies,” have long faced prejudice in Europe. They have a terrible reputation; according to the Pew Research Center in 2015, 86 percent of Italians, 60 percent of the French, and more than a third of Spanish, British, and German people do not like them. Damian Drăghici, a member of the European Parliament, alleges that anti-Roma discourse has actually increased. This negativity creates a cycle of prejudice between both sides. Peace between Roma people and the rest of Europe will only come from breaking that cycle. Both sides must bend and compromise. One of the best ways to begin this process is to increase Roma political representation.
The Roma are Europe’s largest transnational ethnic minority, numbering in the millions. Despite this, they have remarkably little representation in politics. How can minorities fully integrate into a country if they don’t have people standing up for their interests? Also, why would they even want to integrate into countries where “gypsy” is a terrible insult? Generally people don’t desire to adopt the values of people that call their entire way of life worthless. Trying to shame and browbeat the Roma into changing their culture has not worked for centuries. In anthropology, it has been noticed that an increase in outside threats to a culture often results in a correlating rise to in-group xenophobia and insularity.
By increasing Roma political representation, one increases their access to resources and makes them feel more like team players. Increased access to resources results in lowered poverty levels; lower poverty levels result in higher school attendance. Higher school attendance brings more opportunities, and consequentially even less resentment. Sign the petition below to show your support of more Roma political representation.
Dear Mr. Moraes,
For centuries the Roma have travelled throughout Europe. For centuries they have also had both a terrible reputation and reception from their European neighbors. Neither side has been fair to the other. Originally the Roma were slaves, during World War II they were sent to concentration camps, and most recently there have been efforts to push them out of certain countries. These actions, motivated by hatred, have done nothing to actually fix what is wrong: they do not want to integrate and feel unwelcome. If the same mistakes always result in the same negative outcomes, why continue?
The past cannot be changed, but the future can. Don’t doom everyone to to the same mistakes of the past. By increasing Roma representation in politics, you have a chance to make them feel like they are actually a part of the countries that they live in, instead of merely unwelcome guests. Make the change now and better everyone’s futures.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Edouard Manet