WHO WE ARE
VOICE OF ROMA (VoR) was founded in 1996 and incorporated as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization in 1999.
It is the mission of Voice of Roma (VoR) to promote and present Romani cultural arts and traditions in a way that counters both romanticized and negative "Gypsy" stereotypes, and in so doing, to contribute to the preservation of Romani identity and culture. VoR also works to heighten awareness of human rights issues faced by Roma in today's world, and to support efforts by Roma to (re)build and maintain their communities, improve their lives, and to strengthen the Romani voice both nationally and internationally. Our mission is accomplished through organizing and implementing cultural arts, educational, economic development, and charitable projects for and about Roma.
The task of VoR is unique and crucial. Roma have been voiceless for centuries. A history of oppression, slavery, discrimination, ethnic cleansing and genocide informs the Roma's living culture, and anti-Roma prejudice persists even today. Against this background, a worldwide movement is working to increase recognition for Romani cultural arts and traditions, building a sense of ethnic pride, history and strength among the Roma. Voice of Roma is at the forefront of this movement, providing a voice for Roma across the world from Northern California to Kosovo, and many places in between.
In the United States Voice of Roma presents authentic Romani culture, music, dance and art, and educates the public about the history, current events and the plight of the Kosovo Roma. Simultaneously, VoR provides advocacy services both to Roma living as displaced persons in dire circumstances in Kosovo and to those living as refugees in other countries in Europe under threat of deportation. Since 2003, Voice of Roma has maintained an office in Kosovo with a six-member Romani staff team engaged in advocacy, humanitarian, economic development, and educational projects. VoR has worked to assist Kosovo Roma to participate in "Decade of Roma Inclusion" (2005 - 2015) activities, and in various civil society and democracy building meetings elsewhere in Europe, advocates against forced repatriation of Romani refugees to Kosovo, and has contributed to the development of a lobby for Romani issues at the United Nations. VoR is also dedicated to furthering Romani women's emancipation and full participation in our projects and in their own communities.
- VoR Board Of Directors
- Sani Rifati, President
- Bruce Cochran, CFO
- Merrilyn Joyce, Secretary
- Petra Gelbart
- Lisa Ekström
- Kristin Raeesi
- Carol Silverman
- VoR International Advisory Board
- Enisa Eminova, Skopje, Macedonia
- Sonia Seeman, Texas, USA
- Ian Hancock, Texas, USA
- Marie Pierre Lahaye, Liege, Belgium
- Esma Redzepova, Skopje, Macedonia
- Jud Nirenberg, Washington DC, USA
- Julia Pesac, California, USA
- Sunil Sharma, California, USA
- Marjan Sax, Amsterdam, Netherlands