jejsoskero khilljavin – By Phoenix (age 9)

Being Romani is more than how my pots are arranged in the kitchen, like warring factions of iron separated for all eternity;

It’s more than my long hair; long skirts; and sky-blue headscarves that cling to my braids like a mother to her children.

It’s more than how I cook my food; how I lay my table; and the name I call my God.

Being Romani is more than the jewelry I wear or the layers of my name sitting silent in my heart.

It’s more than my favourite songs; sayings; poems.

It’s more than Herdeljezi, Karačoňa, or Patraďi.

Being Romani is more than history; more than blood; more than words on a page.

You can’t pretend,

you can’t become.

You just are.