Cunoasterea (r)omului de langa noi - Despre Masca Asta
The Foundation for Community Development Agency “Together” has been working for 23 years in order to preserve and affirm the Roma personality, through research, documentation and dissemination activities, elaboration and implementation of social policies for the benefit of Roma. In short, we work together to give a voice to Roma everywhere, always with the thought that Romania can become a country where we all feel at home.
In Romania, according to official data, over 600,000 Romanian citizens of Roma ethnicity live, but the unofficial number is between 1.8 and 2.5 million. Many of them choose to hide who they are out of a desire to protect themselves from the stigma and rejection that comes from the society.
Their choice to wear a mask of invisibility, to become an invisible Roma, brings with it the denial of their own identity, their own history, language, family.
Within the project "Knowledge of the Roma next to us", which we are currently running, we have set up an awareness campaign on the impact of stereotypes and prejudices on the Roma minority. The first part of this campaign, called "About this mask”, has the mission of encouraging Romanian citizens of Roma ethnicity to publicly admit their identity, but also dismantling the prejudices of the majority population regarding the Roma.
The video spot "About this mask" is made entirely in the Romani language, from the desire to emphasize the fact that the denial of identity makes the younger generations (and not only) understand their own language only with subtitles.
"About this mask" wants to encourage those in the Roma community, our parents, brothers, sisters, to get rid of their masks, to let themselves be seen and to be aware that they have a voice and the world needs to hear it.
"About This Mask" talks about the masks we choose to wear every day and the courage to let yourself be seen. Being Roma comes with a heavy baggage to carry. Out of fear of stigma, of rejection, of shame, a good part of us choose to borrow other identities and to put aside everything that we really mean: everything that our nation has suffered, all that our family, our language and our culture mean. So we become invisible, and the only voices that talk about us are other’s.
That's what the material that we just released about, a first part of our campaign: about letting ourselves be seen, letting ourselves be, and showing others our true stories, not the ones that have become so imprinted in society that they no longer give us space to show who we actually are.