Fourth year of Roma Spirit awards begins
Otevřená společnost, o.p.s. (Open Society, o.p.s.) and the Michael Kocáb Foundation are announcing the fourth annual 2014 Roma Spirit awards in the Czech Republic (formerly known as Gypsy Spirit). The mission of the awards is to appreciate and popularize the active efforts of everyone who contributes toward improving the situation of Romani people in the Czech Republic.
"Generalizations, tarring all Roma with the same brush, are a cancer on the efforts to improve coexistence between the majority society and our Romani fellow-citizens. Roma Spirit shows there are many energetic organizations and honest people on both sides who have nothing to do with that embarrassingly simplified perspective," says Michael Kocáb, the former Czech Human Rights Minister who founded the original Gypsy Spirit project in the Czech Republic.
This year's awards are taking place under the auspices of Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and Anna Šabatová, the Public Defender of Rights (ombud). "Most Czechs do not believe Romani people capable of doing something positive for our society and hold deeply-rooted prejudices against them. In part, this is because there is not much information in the public space about anything positive concerning Romani people. When we look at the number of nominations and the quality of those who have won these awards in past years, we see that there are many good things happening in this country aiding the solidarity of Czech society. Our aim is to shout this information to the world and open up Czech society a bit more," says Czeslaw Walek, director of Otevřená společnosti, o.p.s.
The 2014 Roma Spirit awards will be given in the following categories:
- Non-profit, non-state organizations (for implementing a concrete project aimed at developing and supporting the Romani minority and the results achieved, and for implementing a project aimed at after-school educational activities for Romani children and youth)
- Company-Firm/Employer (for supporting projects aimed at providing social assistance and support to the Romani community)
- City - Municipality (for programs aimed at integrating members of the Romani minority into society and activities benefiting the Romani community
- Individual (for long-term work contributing toward improving the position of Romani people)
- Media (for a journalist who reports either objective or positive information about Romani issues and disseminates positive references to mutual tolerance and understanding)
- Action of the Year (for an action contributing to saving a life)
The 2014 Roma Spirit awards will culminate in an awards ceremony on 10 December 2014 at the Prague Crossroads (Pražská křižovatka) on the occasion of International Human Rights Day. During the evening we will present not just the nominated individuals and organizations, but also young Romani talents and brilliant Romani bands.
Do you know people who have transformed living conditions for Romani people through their approach or work - or who have done so in a completely inconspicuous way - and who deserve to be known? Write us more about them!
You can send your nominations by filling out the online form HERE. You can nominate individuals and organizations for achievements during 2013 and 2014 by 30 September 2014.
The online nomination form is also available on the website of Otevřená společnost, o.p.s. (Open Society, o.p.s.). This project is financially supported by the ČEZ Foundation, the Michael Kocáb Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the US Embassy.
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