A Voice For the Voiceless


The Advocacy Project (AP) recruits students to help marginalized communities tell their story and claim their rights.

My RSS Feed

Twitter: #apfellows

Posts tagged Invisible minority

Staircase reflections: The invisible sore thumb.

Christina Hooson | Posted August 2nd, 2009 | Europe

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 step 2 step 3 step 4…tired baby screams, a mother sighs…17, 18, 19…smell of simmering onions diffuses up the stairwell…45, 46…lovers part with a kiss…79, 80, 81…blaring TV laughter fills the airwaves…93, 94…key turns in lock; home sweet home. I’m still weighing up the pros and cons of living on the 6th floor, but the one thing mounting those steps does guarantee (aside from a racing pulse) is time for reflection.

I spent last weekend with the organization Romodrom as they prepared for their summer camp for socially deprived Roma children. I am at present stirring the cauldron of adjectives and won’t start serving until I get a mix that accurately captures the generosity, music, campfire stories, laughter, good food and beautiful countryside to which I was treated. Instead, I turn to staircase contemplations and one particular niggle that dominates my climb to flat no. 24, namely that I am advocating for the rights of an invisible minority.

As I have become more familiar with the city and its inhabitants, I am struck by the lack of awareness about the situation of the Roma. Unlike the unavoidable swarms of tourists, Roma – living mainly in one particular city district, Žižkov – remain out of sight, out of mind for the majority of Prague’s population. The picture is similar elsewhere in the country. Aside from allowing prejudices to fester, geographical concentration ensures that statistics which stick out like a sore thumb on paper (up to 56% of Roma of working age are neither employed nor actively looking for a job) remain in reality unseen by most. The incessant application of the label ‘different‘ is accompanied by little firsthand experience and an element of apathy; the d word used as an explanation for the Roma’s difficulties which ‘just are’.

A media campaign by Dutch photographer Juul Hondius in 1998 aimed at stimulating public debate on racial violence and discrimination in the Czech Republic against Roma. Provocative posters covered city walls fighting what was described as a preference to ignore by making Roma visible on the streets of Prague.

Every day romanies face racism. This is not the solution. So please think and stop racism. Photo Credit: Juul Hondius.
Every day romanies face racism. This is not the solution. So please think and stop racism. Photo Credit: Juul Hondius.

A follow-up project photographed the posters sometime later in order to document positive/negative response to the campaign. I’ll leave you to interpret the results for yourselves but for me, they are a vivid illustration of how the pervasiveness of the Roma plight is intertwined with society’s inherently short attention span.

Tolerance?...or apathy? Photo Credit: Juul Hondius.
Tolerance?...or apathy? Photo Credit: Juul Hondius.

Fellow: Christina Hooson

Dzeno Association in Czech Republic


Apathy Army Cigarettes Communism Czech Roma Discrimination Dzeno Dzeno Association EU exclusion Far right electoral success Forced assimilation Freedom of speech Genocide Ghetto Gypsy Internet Invisible minority Ivan Vesely Juul Hondius Kumar Vishwanathan Life Together London Buses Lucie Horváthová Marie Gailova Nazis Neo-Nazi Neo-Nazi attacks Ostrava Prague Prejudice Racism Roma Romano Hip Hop Roma Rights Romodrom Sinti Slovakia social deprivation Social Work Staircase Swiss Punctuality Tolerance Unemployment Žižkov




2013 Fellows


Benan Grams
Meron Menwyelet
Mohammed Alshubrumi
John Steies


Andra Bosneag
Chris Pinderhughes
Emily MacDonald
Jasveen Bindra
Kelly Howell
Raymond Aycock
Sujita Basnet

Middle East

Mona Niebuhr

2012 Fellows


Dane Macri
Laura McAdams
Mallory Minter
Megan Orr
Oluwatooni Akanni
Katie Hoffman


Adam Kruse
Alex Kelly
Alicia Evangelides
Heather Webb
Jesse Cottrell
Matthew Becker
Rachel Palmer


Claire Noone
Elise Filo

Latin America

Laura Burns

Middle East

Nur Arafeh
Thayer Hastings

North America

Caroline Risacher

2011 Fellows


Charlie Walker
Charlotte Bourdillon
Cleia Noia
Dina Buck
Jamyel Jenifer
Kristen Maryn
Rebecca Scherpelz
Scarlett Chidgey
Walter James


Amanda Lasik
Chantal Uwizera
Chelsea Ament
Clara Kollm
Corey Black
Lauren Katz
Maelanny Purwaningrum
Maria Skouras
Meredith Williams
Ryan McGovern
Samantha Syverson


Beth Wofford
Julia Dowling
Quinn Van Valer-Campbell
Samantha Hammer
Susan Craig-Greene

Latin America

Amy Bracken
Catherine Binet

Middle East

Nikki Hodgson

North America

Sarah Wang

2010 Fellows


Abisola Adekoya
Annika Allman
Brooke Blanchard
Christine Carlson
Christy Gillmore
Dara Lipton
Dina Buck
Josanna Lewin
Joya Taft-Dick
Louis Rezac
Ned Meerdink
Sylvie Bisangwa


Adrienne Henck
Karie Cross
Kerry McBroom
Kate Bollinger
Lauren Katz
Simon Kläntschi
Zarin Hamid


Laila Zulkaphil
Susan Craig-Greene
Tereza Bottman

Latin America

Karin Orr

North America

Adepeju Solarin
Oscar Alvarado

2009 Fellows


Adam Welti
Alixa Sharkey
Barbara Dziedzic
Bryan Lupton

Courtney Chance
Elisa Garcia
Helah Robinson
Johanna Paillet
Johanna Wilkie
Kate Cummings
Laura Gordon
Lisa Rogoff
Luna Liu
Ned Meerdink
Walter James


Abhilash Medhi
Gretchen Murphy
Isha Mehmood
Jacqui Kotyk
Jessica Tirado
Kan Yan
Morgan St. Clair
Ted Mathys


Alison Sluiter
Christina Hooson
Donna Harati
Fanny Grandchamp
Kelsey Bristow
Simran Sachdev
Susan Craig-Greene
Tiffany Ommundsen

Latin America

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Carolyn Ramsdell
Jessica Varat
Lindsey Crifasi
Rebecca Gerome
Zachary Parker

Middle East

Corrine Schneider
Rachel Brown
Rangineh Azimzadeh

North America

Elizabeth Mandelman
Farzin Farzad

2008 Fellows

Adam Nord
Annelieke van de Wiel
Juliet Hutchings
Kristina Rosinsky
Lucas Wolf
Chi Vu
Danita Topcagic
Heather Gilberds
Jes Therkelsen
Libby Abbott
Mackenzie Berg
Nicole Farkouh
Ola Duru
Paul Colombini
Raka Banerjee
Shubha Bala
Antigona Kukaj
Colby Pacheco
James Dasinger
Janet Rabin
Nicole Slezak
Shweta Dewan
Amy Offner
Ash Kosiewicz
Hannah McKeeth
Heidi McKinnon
Larissa Hotra
Hannah Wright
Krystal Sirman
Rianne Van Doeveren
Willow Heske

2007 Fellows

Johnathan Homer
Adam Nord
Audrey Roberts
Caitlin Burnett
Devin Greenleaf
Jeff Yarborough
Julia Zoo
Madeline England
Maha Khan
Mariko Scavone
Mark Koenig
Nicole Farkouh
Saba Haq
Tassos Coulaloglou
Ted Samuel
Alison Morse
Gail Morgado
Jennifer Hollinger
Katie Wroblewski
Leslie Ibeanusi
Michelle Lanspa
Stephanie Gilbert
Zach Scott
Abby Weil
Jessica Boccardo
Sara Zampierin
Eliza Bates
Erin Wroblewski
Tatsiana Hulko

2006 Interns

Laura Cardinal
Jessical Sewall
Alison Long
Autumn Graham
Donna Laverdiere
Erica Issac
Greg Holyfield
Lori Tomoe Mizuno
Melissa Muscio
Nicole Cordeau
Stacey Spivey
Anya Gorovets
Barbara Bearden
Lynne Engleman
Yvette Barnes
Charles Wright
Sarah Sachs

2005 Interns

Eun Ha Kim
Malia Mason
Anne Finnan
Carrie Hasselback
Karen Adler
Sarosh Syed
Shirin Sahani
Chiara Zerunian
Ewa Sobczynska
MacKenzie Frady
Margaret Swink
Sabri Ben-Achour
Nitzan Goldberger

2004 Interns

Ginny Barahona
Michael Keller
Sarah Schores
Melinda Willis
Pia Schneider
Stacy Kosko
Carmen Morcos
Christina Fetterhoff
Stacy Kosko
Bushra Mukbil

2003 Interns

Erica Williams
Kate Kuo
Claudia Zambra
Julie Lee
Kimberly Birdsall
Marta Schaaf
Caitlin Williams
Courtney Radsch