Oldham celebrates International Roma Day

Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Kaskosan and Oldham Council took a few moments to celebrate International Roma Day on Friday 8 April 2022. Members from the Roma Community and staff members from Oldham Coliseum including the Coliseum’s Artistic Director, Chris Lawson, were met by the Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Jenny Harrison, and Cllr Shaid Mushtaq to raise the Roma flag in front of the Civic Centre and show a sign of respect to the Roma community here in Oldham.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre have been working with the Roma Community for over 5 years here in Oldham. The Coliseum is currently delivering an 18-month creative programme, Roma Connections, in partnership with Roma-led charity Kaskosan, exploring how the arts can positively inform the lived experiences of the Roma communities in Oldham.

Juice Vamosi, founder of Kaskosan, commented: "Oldham is home to the first Roma charity founded and run by East European Roma in England but also to the largest Roma Church in the North. Roma (sometimes wrongly confused with Romanians) aka Gypsies, originating in India many centuries ago, celebrate their culture and raise awareness of anti-Gypsyism on 8 April every year all over the world. This year we are celebrating with Oldham Coliseum and Oldham Council, the first institutions in Oldham to work with the wider Roma community. We encourage all other institutions in Oldham and all over the UK to follow their example: be the first to smile at Roma in order to bring a positive change in all residents' lives."

Olivia Race, Oldham Coliseum’s Head of Learning and Engagement, commented: “Raising a flag on International Roma Day is a small thing we can do as a mark of celebration and respect. But it hasn’t been done before in Oldham, so I’m delighted that in 2022 we are taking the time to celebrate this day. When you pair an act like raising a flag with the work we’re doing within the Roma Community, allowing participants to take part in creative activities that improve personal and social well-being whilst developing new skills, confidence, as well as raising aspirations, the flag raising becomes another mark of inclusiveness amongst many other actions. We are striving to make Oldham an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone.”

The Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Jenny Harrison commented: “I’m delighted to see the Roma flag raised at the Civic Centre on International Roma Day. The Roma community forms part of the rich, diverse community we have here in Oldham and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate with them and proudly fly the flag. I wish everyone a happy International Roma Day.”

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