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My name is Dijana Pavlovic. I’m Roma, and belong to a people that was driven from its motherland of India 1,000 years ago. Since we arrived in Europe, we met with hostility and violence. Our freedom has been under constant threat. Thanks to the sacrifices of our ancestors, we have also learned, created, discovered, built, and thought.

I was born and raised in Vrnjacka Banja, in Serbia. I grew up in economically poor but spiritually rich family. My grandfather was a blacksmith who risked his life during the WWII to fight Nazis and save our family and community. My mother inherited his determination and instilled pride in my fight and sacrifice for freedom to be who I am today. Growing up in such an environment made me understand that to prevail in life, we must be brave and affirm our identity in the face of any challenge.

For 15 years, I have fought battles on behalf of the most dispossessed ethnic and other minorities in Italy. This made me understand that despite our differences; we are one people, one nation. Our collective fight for freedom is greater than differences. We must come together and strongly oppose injustice and our oppressors.

We won many important battles, and we also lost some. For every child we saved from an eviction, there were still far too many who remained on the street. I learned how much is important for us to be wise and courageous in our collective fight across Europe-to build on the wisdom and creative power of our families, our communities, and our ancestors, as well as their self-determination, to help make progress for Roma. We have to work against all odds in an ever-changing context that presents significant challenges that no-one can cope with alone. Those who wanted to take away our freedom, fascists, neo-Nazis, xenophobic populists, are getting strong again. We need to act with a sense of unity and solidarity, now. We have to organize and take part in the institutions to decide about our lives and future, become more powerful, from local to European levels.

For this reason, I will run in the municipal elections, with a progressive, pro-European and democratic party in Milan, a large city of very strategic political significance. To win the elections, I can’t do this alone in a highly competitive political environment. Therefore, I need contributions and engagement of my brothers and sisters all across Europe to make our political power felt this time. This will strengthen our image and dignity, help me run my campaign to win the elections, and find a source of solidarity across Europe. We should show that we will no longer beg gadze for money to support our liberation fight, but supporting our own politics that can bring about positive change in our communities. This will be a great political gesture of solidarity, autonomy and financial and political independence from the world of gadze that rejects us, educating them to respect the largest European minority.

Today is for me, tomorrow for you or for any of our sisters or brothers fighting in any European country!

If you want to contribute to Dijana’s campaign, you can donate in the following account:

CAGNA NINCHI PAOLO MANDATARIO ELETTORALE DI PAVLOVIC DIJANA

IBAN: IT25 I030 6909 5521 0000 0012 479

BIC: BCITITMM

Under the Italian law, donations bellow 5.000 EUR do not require the name of the donor.