You know how sometimes you read a story and it just punches you in the gut? Well, that’s what happened to me when I read a post by Jason Wiser titled “Racism Defined, A Romani Story.”
Jason has been a missionary in the Ukraine since 2006, working predominantly with a Romany Gypsy church. He starts out his post with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:
“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”
Unfortunately, while Martin Luther King’s dream is still alive, so is the reality of racism. Like Jason says, “to the Roma community, it’s an everyday fact of life.”
Many Romani people are very poor and often looked upon as outcast of the community. All over Europe, you see them begging, living in squatter settlements on the outskirts of town, constructing makeshift homes out of scrap materials they scavenge from the streets. They often make their living begging, or stealing, or as itinerant merchants selling their wares on blankets spread out on the street. Many are not educated. These are the elements that work together to define racism toward the Roma Gypsy.
Recently, Jason had the opportunity to travel through the Ukraine with the Romany Pastor Brugosh. It was on this trip that Jason experienced what it felt like to be the target of racism. He says, “Along the way I noticed subtle instances of discrimination, but I kind of shook them off. Things like people not wanting to sit next to us, glances and glares, and people cutting in front of us in lines. Ah, no big deal. But it was the bus ride in Kiev that I’ll never forget.”
Nor will I ever forget what I read here. Please click on the link to read the rest of this heart-breaking story. It will change the way you think about what it means to treat people as outcasts.
Jason Wiser is the Director of Michigan Bridge Ministry, a Christian organization dedicated to supporting missionaries and ministries throughout the world.
“The Romani people are exactly the kind of people that Jesus came to minister the gospel to — people who are outcast in society, who are in need, who are hungry for love, who are thirsty for acceptance, and who are longing for freedom.” Jason Wiser