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August 17, 2018
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Commentary: Social Exclusion is a Global Issue

23.6.2017 14:00
Djenne Dickens
Djenne Dickens

The issues the Roma face in Europe are issues that many minorities around the globe face as well. There is unequal distribution of education, employment, and housing.

Poverty is rampant. People feel the prejudice against them, and it is important for us to know that this issue does not only affect the Czech Republic or the United States.

Djenne Dickens

  • senior at Lehigh University;
  • pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics;
  • sprinter on Lehigh's track and field team;
  • sister of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Incorporated, the first multicultural sorority in the United States;
  • plans to attend graduate school to become a physical therapist

This summer, I have the amazing opportunity to leave my home in the United States to work with the campaign for social inclusion in the Czech Republic. I have been interning with an NGO, Romea, to help with the social inclusion of the Roma people.

The Roma have faced persecution over many generations, including the mass genocide of their people during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, the Roma are still widely persecuted today due to the color of their skin and a negative media portrayal of them as criminals and thieves.

Human rights are defined as rights that inherently belong to every person, regardless of race, religion, national origin, or any other status. Every year, the United States releases a human rights report on countries around the globe, including the Czech Republic.

Romea covers such reports through their news server,, and the challenge arises when we see how many members of the majority group are actually willing to change their thoughts and actions in order to alleviate feelings of exclusion for minority groups. In their 2016 Human Rights Report, the US states that "Societal discrimination against the Romani population in education, housing, and employment remained a serious problem."

Very few of the socially excluded Roma participate in Czech political life. The 2016 report from the US says "There were no Romani members of parliament, cabinet ministers, or Supreme Court justices; in the regional elections, Romani candidates had no success winning office."

Without political representation and policies advocating for the respect of basic human rights for members of marginalized communities, exclusion will be difficult to address. Exclusion manifests when members of society are silenced.

The US human rights report also mentions the Czech Republic's rejection of "a bill proposed in September 2015 by the minister of human rights on compensation for persons, most of them Romani women, who were sterilized without their full consent between 1971 and 1991." However, the US has its own extensive history of practicing compulsory sterilization, and not all victims of these practices have been compensated there either, although some states have taken steps to redress the past.

Now, you may be wondering why you should care. How does this affect you?

The "-isms" - ableism, antigypsyism, racism, sexism, classism, antisemitism, ageism, heterosexism, and more - are global problems. Our fellow human beings are dying because others cannot tolerate difference.

What I want you to know is that it is okay to be different. Embrace your own culture.

Live how you want, and let others do the same. That's how people grow, learn and discover new ways to flourish.

Djenne Dickens
Views: 716x

Related articles:


Exkluze, Czech republic, USA, Roma, human rights


--ilustrační foto--

Tomáš Ščuka: Romani people need competent representation first and foremost, not Romani representation at all costs

1.8.2018 10:04
I would like to discuss one of the big deficiencies in the Romani community, and that is the active participation of Romani people in political life. Thanks to the existence of online social networks, which make communications and the opportunity to share opinions so easy, we have recently been able to follow different calls to action, discussions, and similar inputs from the widest possible sample of Romani people across the Czech Republic who are frequently expressing their views of the necessity for higher participation by our community and sharing their perspectives.
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--ilustrační foto--

Edita Stejskalová calls on Czech Govt to create the position of Commissioner for Romani Affairs

1.8.2018 6:48
Speaking yesterday at a demonstration in Prague, Edita Stejskalová, a civil society member of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs, called for the Czech Government to immediately create the position of a Commissioner for Romani Affairs. "Romani people do not live in poverty and social exclusion by choice! Romani people are entitled to equal, fair treatment! Romani people do not want to live on the fringes of society! Romani people are demanding that EU institutions and their own Governments educate society to respect the rights of all citizens, and we ask the courts to thoroughly punish advocacy of political opinions based on theories of racial superiority! Romani people demand adequate protection of their lives and personalysecurity, as is guaranteed to all citizens! Romani people demand active, seriously-conceived participation from the national to the international level in decision-making processes," she called on the authorities in a speech that news server is publishing in full translation below.
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Slovak Govt Plenipotentiary for the Romani Community: Žilina is a textbook example of hate crime

27.7.2018 8:12
The recent attack on Romani people in Žilina, Slovakia, one of whom is hospitlaized with a brain hemorrhage, is a textbook example of hate crime according to the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for the Romani Community, Ábel Ravasz (a member of the Most-Híd party), and should be prosecuted as one. The chair of the Romani Union civic association in Slovakia (ÚRS), František Tanko, says Romani people abroad and in Slovakia are outraged by the racist crime and have announced a protest march in Žilina.
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