Silence - A Poem By Nikki Hughes

11 March 2020
A photo of Nikki Hughes wearing a cream headscarf and gold earings smiling in front of the red and green Romani flag.

Nikki Hughes is a Romany Gypsy from South London. She wrote this powerful and moving poem after a  vicious discriminatory attack online and felt silenced. 




When the world talks about the holocaust, silenced.

When the world talks about slavery, silenced.

When they talk about genital mutilations and forced sterilisation, silenced.

When they talk about women and children missing, silenced.

When they talk about violence and genecide, silenced.

When they talk about discrimination and racism, silenced.

When they talk about LGBTQ rights, silenced.

Disability rights, silenced.

Education, healthcare, true representation in the media and in government, silenced.


We are silenced for a number of “reasons” from the settled community.

You’re not dark enough, you’re not light enough.

You’re too light, you’re too dark.

You’re too “ethnic” but not exotic enough.

You don’t belong to one nation, culture or creed that we accept.

It’s easy for you to stop all these issues, just settle, just assimilate.

Just stop procreating and slowly disappear into history.

You’re “little bit of heritage” doesn’t mean anything against what WE have been through and what WE have been fighting for.

How can a mythical creature who represents “free spirit” in my bohemian vision face human rights violations and systematic racism?

How can it be racism or cultural appropriation when the race doesn’t even exist?


Don’t scream, don’t shout!

Don’t try to join in!

Don’t proclaim any solidarity with me!

Don’t use our hashtags and abbreviations!

Don’t wave your flag next to mine!

Don’t request a seat at my table, you should go find your own!

Shunned, oppressed and silenced through it all.

Experiencing all these things silently and without a whimper.

With soft and silent tears.

With great lamentations in the deserts and fields.

With prays and cry’s to a God who doesn’t hear.

Generations after generations, from moment of birth until their death and thereafter.

Our ancestors never resting in eternal peace.

Those who tried to speak up, like a beautiful bud about to bloom, were cruelly cut down too short.

The earth was scorched and salted so that none would grow thereafter.



But there is a new generation and a new field growing.

A rumble in the ground that’s growing louder.

A younger generation who are standing up and saying “NO MORE!”.

“No more will I be silenced!”

“No more will you not hear the cries of my people!”.

“No more will the doors be closed on our plights!”

“You WILL hear us!”.

The silence is broken.


By Nikki Hughes.