Hastings, Wicker, Watkins, and Cardin Joint Statement on Introducing Resolutions Celebrating Romani American Heritage

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Fort Lauderdale, FL, April 8, 2019 | comments
Representatives Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Steve Watkins (R-KS) introduced H.Res.292, Celebrating the heritage of Romani Americans, a resolution that marks April 8, 2019 as International Roma Day, honors the culture, history, and heritage of the Romani people, and raises awareness of the still widespread human rights abuses and discrimination that Romani people face. (Please find attached a copy of the resolution.) Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a companion resolution in the Senate, S.Res.141, a resolution celebrating the heritage of Romani Americans. Hastings, Watkins, Wicker, and Cardin issued the following joint statement:

“Roma enrich the fabric of our nation. They have been part of every wave of European migration to the United States since the colonial period, tying our country to Europe and building the transatlantic bond. Through this resolution, we celebrate our shared history and applaud the efforts to promote transnational cooperation among Roma at the historic First World Romani Congress on April 8, 1971.”

RESOLUTION SUMMARY:

H.Res.292 recognizes and celebrates Romani American heritage. Additionally, the resolution marks April 8, 2019 as International Roma Day and supports the U.S. Department of State’s robust engagement in related activities. Recognized globally as “International Roma Day,” April 8 represents an important opportunity to both celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people, including widespread human rights abuses and discrimination in employment, housing and education. 

The resolution also commemorates the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the so-called “Gypsy Family Camp” at Auschwitz when, on August 2nd and 3rd, 1944, Nazis murdered between 4,200 and 4,300 Romani men, women, and children in gas chambers in a single night. Finally, H.Res.292 commends the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for its critically important role in promoting remembrance of the Holocaust and educating audiences about the genocide of Roma.

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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