Tuesday, January 29, 2008

WANTED: Sinti and Roma Heroes and Role Models

We have no heroes, no role models, no "Davey Crockets" or "Abraham Lincolns". No "Martin Luther Kings"

The circumstances that forced the Sinti and Roma to withdraw from society and live secretive lives, robbed the future generations of their own cultural legacy. What hasn't been borrowed, or adapted from other cultures, has been made up or altered over the years leaving no tangible history of their own for the newer generations to pass on. The results have left most of us feeling disconnected and lost.

In order for our culture to really every become recognized by the rest of the world, don't we have to work at reconnecting the bridges that have been torn down or hidden over the years first? Don't we have to work from within before we can branch out.

Will there ever come a time where we have stories and heroes of our own?

I think we should start by creating personal role models and heroes. Personal heroes and role models can come from anywhere. We have the opportunity rght now to become leaders or find leaders in our own community or from the family histories of those in our culture. We need to make our own list and be able to articulate why the people are on that list. What did they do or say that kept them bigger than life in our eyes? What was our personal experience with them that earned them this place? Our list can include heroes we've never met, but studied through reading, research, or heard from our elders. It can include fathers and brothers, coaches and teachers, grandmothers and neighbors, soldiers and saints. They can be men or women, alive or dead, near or far. But they must be able to strike chords in our minds, hearts and bring focus to our culture. Then, we need to pass them on to others so they can gain from that knowledge too.

If you think about it, this is a very exciting time for Roma and Sinti. In a world, where everything has already been said, or done or written or created, we are just getting started. We have the opportunity to go down in history as leaders and pioneers! Each of us need to make one significant contribution because only through learning from the mistakes or accomplishments made by those in the past, can we every truly grow. And who knows, maybe one of you can become the futures Roma "Martin Luther King", or "Rosa Parks"!
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