I'm a classically trained Theatre director and scrip writer. I'm young, passionate, and eager to change the world for the better. (big words alert)
I was born in '95, very shortly after the fall of the Communist regime in Romania. The mentality never fell, sadly, and growing up in a mixed family I never knew my Romani ancestry. I was privileged in that way, because my family was so ashamed of our colour, they never told me who I was. I lost on so many great memories and family times because I had no contact with the Romani side of my family and grew up as white, which made me more privileged than my Romani peers.
But growing up, I began to learn the painful history of my family, and I was angry that I wasn't told about my ethnicity. Then I learnt more, and I understood why my white side of the family had to hide it. The horror of being a Romani Gypsy in this day and age, no family wishes that onto their baby. And my anger turned towards the oppression. It took some time and maturity before I could see that anger is not even an option if I wanted a better world. But I got there and now I can see a more complete picture. I know Amare Droma can empower Romanis without turning anyone against bystanders, and that's the way to go. We want unity and integration, and you can't have that if you alienate other groups, be them even oppressing groups.
As soon as I proudly displayed my mixed ethnicity, my privilege evaporated. Suddenly I was being cussed out, called names, and refused business collaborations. I was a freelancer at the time, trying to start a Drama class. It was unfair.
While being mixed brought its own problems (I was the token coloured friend suddenly because I was a little enough gypsy to be exotic but also white enough so I didn't devalue the friend group, while not being Gypsy enough to mingle with my ethnic peers), I did try to understand how could most white people discriminate us in this way, perpetuating the horrible things they did to our ancestors for centuries. Everyone I asked, even my family, did not know anything about hundreds of years of history. They behaved like that because it was what it was. Our arts and entertainment were, well, entertaining, and consumed in large amounts, but the people making it were bashed and ostracised.
Then I turned to ask the Romanis that I knew. Why didn't they stand up? Other oppressed groups, with which we shared the same, if not significantly worse history of oppression, were taking back their history. Turns out, no Romani Gypsy I knew, knew their history either. It has been completely erased and they gave me the same answer: our life is what it is. We continue to make art, work normal jobs, live our lives the best we can, and the oppression just comes with it. It's the way of the world.
I say no. And with Amare Droma, I want to educate and empower my community, I want to create resources and workshops and go where there's even the smallest Romani Gypsy community to shed light on our history, and embolden our peers to stand up and oppose the oppression.
Amare Droma means Our Ways in the Romani language. It has been chosen because it's the core of our mission. We want to educate our peers to stand up strong, without erasing our ways, and we want to use art to promote our true ways to all.
These workshops will be funded through our art. I'm a director and script writer, I continually train myself in film as well. So that's where my power lies. That's how I can do something to make the world a better place for everyone.
The Romanis are a colourful and artistic bunch, and the art, and music we produce is in demand. Why not use it to promote positive integration, to educate people who have not had the chance to know who we really are aside from stereotypes and falsehoods? Why not make a change and entertain at the same time?
It might not be the perfect option, but it's what I'm equipped to do. Other collaborators down the line will bring their own skills and tools and change the project for the better.
This crowdfunder has been created to help get the project off the ground. The funds raised will go towards a collaboration with Culture North Lanarkshire, to set up a training space for the artists who will perform within the projects, as well as spaces to run educational workshops for the Romani Gypsy community. Everyone is invited, however.
As funds are coming in, I can finalise collaborations with a choreographer and singing instructor who will cover those area of training the performers, and that's probably what one of the first updates to this project will be.
Auditions will be held shortly after, and videos of that will be posted on the project update page. Just a little extra perk to make us smile. Auditions are horrendously awkward. You'll see.
All the money will be used to give Amare Droma the best proper start she could have, covering major things like training and performance spaces, auditions, initial setup, and other similar things, all to get Amare Droma up and running as soon as possible. Your contribution will help us on Our Way(s).