Horáčková (SRP), Romani candidate to Czech lower house: We must organize resistance to racism
An unusually high number of Romani people are running in this year's early elections compared to years past. The monthly Romano voďi, published by the ROMEA association, has done its best to interview all the candidates running for the lower house and will run those interviews in addition to publishing analytical material about the elections.
News server Romea.cz will be gradually publishing these interviews. We consider these elections to be important, key, and we hope to bring you the opinions of all those asking for your vote.
This interview introduces Emílie Horáčková of the Equal Opportunities Party (Strana rovných příležitostí - SRP), who is running on the Green Party candidate list in Liberec Region in eighth place.
Q: Why the SRP? Have you ever been a member of another political group before this?
A: I have never been in any party before this. I joined the SRP because I identify with their program and the founders are Romani, even though the party is not just for Romani people. We must organize resistance to this wave of hatred and racism that is starting to take over society. I am also a fan of the SRP's efforts to fight poverty. After a long time there is finally a party here that wants to fight for the Roma and take action on societal reconciliation and aid for all.
Q: What chance, in your opinion, does the SRP have in the early elections in general and in your region in particular?
A: There is a chance here. It's important that we participate in the parliamentary elections. Romani people seem to be waking up from their disinterest and lethargy, they won't just be complaining, they will be taking an interest in public affairs and going to the polls. Maybe they will realize the power of their vote and start working at local level. During the next four years we could have people prepared here with enough political experience to run in the next parliamentary elections. I see the way to equal opportunities for all as lying on that path, it's our chance to function, to work, to participate in everything in this society.
Q: What do you say to the "alliance" between the Greens and the SRP making it possible for SRP members or nominees to run on the Green Party's candidate lists? What might this alliance mean to the voters?
A: The alliance with the Green Party is proof that we will be participating in these changes together. The Greens are the only party that has stood up for Romani people in the human rights area from the very beginning. In recent years their representatives, in particular [party chair] Ondřej Liška, have been at every demonstration against the neo-Nazis. His participation demonstrates his support, that he is on the side of the Roma. He also participates in the [annual] commemoration ceremony at [the former concentration camp for Romani people in] Lety by Písek, his speech there is always an expression of honor and respect for the living. The Greens' social program is very close to the SRP's and calls for collaboration, for us to participate together on changes, it's a step in the right direction.
Q: Why did the SRP reach out to the Greens in particular?
A: Both chairs agreed on a joint electoral coalition at Lety by Písek.
Q: This year rather a lot of Romani people are running for various parties. What do you make of this?
A: I know there is a new Romani party here, the RDS (Romani Democratic Party), which is running as an independent entity. Romani people are also running for the Czech Social Democrats, the Communists and the Greens. My take on it is that everyone has the right to have his or her own opinion and can choose the party they identify with most.
Q: If elected, should the Romani candidates collaborate across party lines?
A: Definitely yes, if what they are after is collaboration and improving the position of Romani people in this soceity. Together we can participate in creating reconciliation in this society, helping everyone who is socially vulnerable, changing our poorly-run social system, which does not function the way it should.
Q: What does Romanipen mean to you?
A: Tradition, culture, the Romanes language, my identity. A feeling of belonging, solidarity, pride that I am a Romani woman. During the census I listed my nationality as Romani and I believe all Romani people here should do this, not fear it, not be ashamed of it.
Q: What do politics and your participation in them symbolize for you?
A: The capability to promote the program aims of my party. Politics is responsible service to the people. Incorruptibility, upholding the laws and rules for everyone - this is self-evident. In politics I intend to think about others' rights and strive to improve the position of Romani people in this society, both on the labor market and in the area of human rights.
These interviews will be published in the print edition of Romano voďi magazine, the October edition of which will feature edited versions of all of these interviews (in Czech only). You can order a copy of the October edition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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