On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest. A white policeman held his knee against Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, killing him despite what became his last words: “I can’t breathe.”
The Black man’s death became a cause for massive protests across America, but also in Europe and other countries. In Kosovo and the region, some Roma activists utilized the Black Lives Matter motto to say that All Black Lives Matter. But the issue of institutional racism in society is not new to Kosovo’s Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.
Over the past year we have witnessed attacks on the Roma community and institutional negligence with ingrained racism. The most notable case is the murder of a 12-year-old child after suffering sexual violence. The child died despite the family having reported the abuses to the police, who did not detain the perpetrator. Roma citizens took the streets in July 2019 accusing the police and authorities of institutional racism.
So, while witnessing the global conversation that has been sparked by the death of George Floyd in America, how is this conversation translating in Kosovo? Is there a conversation? How are the reactions in support of Black Lives Matter in Kosovo perceived by Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian citizens? How can non minority communities and activists contribute to equality and unlearning racism? What better conversations can we have about discrimination in Kosovo?
Joining K2.0’s Cristina Marí on this conversation are: Activists Avni Mustafa and Sebastia Seferovic, from the organization Roma Versitas; Isak Skenderi, director of the organization Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian, and Dafina Halili, journalist at K2.0.K
Feature image: K2.0.