“These Roma guys” - launch youtube channel to shine a light on Roma culture history and current issues
Over the coming months Travellers' Times are excited to be sharing Rom Sam Yehk (We/Roma are One) video series “These Roma Guys”. The entertaining and informative YouTube channel shines a light on Roma culture, history and current issues. Scroll down to check out their first introduction video!
Rom Sam Yehk (We/Roma are One) is a new non-profit organisation based in Queens New York. Rom Sam Yehk’s mission is to spread awareness about and for Roma people throughout the United States and beyond. Rom Sam Yehk utilises historical educational curriculum, creative arts projects, and multimedia projects to share information about Roma culture, history, and current conditions and issues.
As part of that mission Rom Sam Yehk started a YouTube video channel called “These Roma Guys” with Mike Ciuraru and Dalen C. Butler. Mike comes from a Romanian American Kalderash background and Dalen hails from an English American Romanichal (Romany Gypsy) background. Mike is a first-generation American Roma who works as a mortgage banker and Romanes translator as well as a community advocate and activist.
Dalen is a PhD candidate in Anthropology and History working on a dissertation focusing on American Roma history and issues of representation, race, and immigration. Mike grew up within the Kalderash community in New York and has always a passion for learning more and sharing more about his culture.
Dalen grew up knowing of his Romanichal background but was not a part of the larger communities within the United States, although he has many familial connections to them. Dalen has been an advocate, scholar, and researcher interested in Romani rights, history, and culture for over 10 years and continues to push for more Romani inclusion and representation in academia and beyond.
Both Mike and Dalen are creative individuals with Mike interested in music and audio recording and mixing, and Dalen a videographer and photographer in his free time. Mike and Dalen decided to form Rom Sam Yehk in March 2020 when they saw a gap in the knowledge and information available for and by Roma within the United States.
Their diverse experiences, commitment to diversity and equity, and passion for education drive their series of “These Roma Guys” videos in a fun and educational manner. Through “These Roma Guys” videos Mike and Dalen aim to share information through readily available social media networks using accessible language and information while remaining entertaining. Aside from “These Roma Guys” Rom Sam Yehk is also piloting a photo-ethnographic project with Roma children and adults which focuses on visualizing and representing their daily lives in the United States.
Projects such as this hope to represent the realities of American Roma living today and allows them to express their own representations instead of the dominant non-Roma ones often seen in the media. Likewise, Rom Sam Yehk is also working towards creating curriculum for students in primary and secondary education pertaining to Roma history and culture for usage in schools, extracurricular clubs, community events, and cultural venues.
Rom Sam Yehk also aims to work collaboratively with the many Roma activists, scholars, and organisations conducting vital research and advocacy work in the United States and Europe and plan on highlighting many of those individuals and organisations in their future videos and educational materials.
Mike and Dalen are grateful and honoured to be friends with the great people at Travellers' Times and Rural Media and hope to work more with them in the future. Rom Sam Yehk’s motto and vision statement is pertinent in this regard as it states: “We rise as one and we fall as one…. Only through our diversity, experiences, and shared insights can Roma from around the world thrive. We are one.”