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'The Most Painful Tattoo', the campaign of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano against discrimination of the Roma community, reaches an audience of 25 million [editar]

The campaign aimed to shine a light on the everyday rejection suffered by Roma people.


'The Most Painful Tattoo', the campaign of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano against discrimination of the Roma community, reaches an audience of 25 million

On 16 November, the International Day for Tolerance, Amanda, a young Roma woman, was tattooed live with a prejudice in protest of everyday social rejection of the Roma population. Support on social media for the cause far exceeded the challenge set (to reach 10 million people) and changed the tattoo message to a positive one.

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG)’s campaign #ElTatuajeQueMásDuele (The Most Painful Tattoo) has rallied society in solidarity with the Roma community, reaching more than 25 million people through Twitter thanks to the support of numerous public figures (journalists, artists, politicians and more) and thousands more people from Spain and internationally. 

This morning, Amanda Silva, a young Roma woman from Madrid, undertook the challenge to be tattooed with the phrase “I am Roma and Untrustworthy”, in an act of protest against the rejection and discrimination suffered by Roma people. Surrounded by friends and family members, Amanda has shone a light on the prejudices associated with the Roma community. 

The result was beating the initial challenge posed by FSG: to reach more than 10 million people on Twitter and thus turn the tattoo into a positive message: “Roma and Trustworthy”. The support garnered in the past three days, in which social media was mobilised in solidarity with Amanda and her cause, has meant that the target set was achieved beyond expectations. By the time the tattoo was finished (11:00 AM Madrid time), Twitter had recorded a total of 26,820,404 unique users, 6,882 tweets and 31,244,040 total impacts.

Countless gestures of solidarity were made for this particular campaign, including from well-known politicians, journalists, actors, artists...

Isidro Rodríguez, Director General of Fundación Secretariado Gitano, was delighted by the campaign's success“We would like to thank everyone involved in this act of protest who has managed to 'overhaul' Amanda's tattoo. Our aim in this campaign was to highlight the daily rejection suffered by many Roma men and women due to prejudice, which leaves a 'painful' mark, as would a tattoo, with the distinction that a person would normally get a tattoo of their own free will… because they want to wear it and show it off". He went on to add: "The outcome shows that there are a great many of us who reject the prejudices that brand and condition us, although there is still much ground to cover.  It is our hope that awareness campaigns such as this help to put an end to discrimination and rejection of the Roma community". 

Fundación Secretariado Gitano has been issuing annual reports for the past 12 years documenting numerous cases of discrimination that affect Roma people throughout Spain, but which represent "a tiny fraction of real incidents, because often the Roma community is unaware of the discrimination. It assumes it and it goes unreported”, remarks Rodríguez. 

Sara Giménez, Head of the FSG Equality and Anti-Discrimination Department, notes that “the issue is still everyday discrimination, which goes unnoticed by society-at-large, but which affects thousands of people every day. It exists when renting a home, entering a leisure establishment or seeking a job, for instance, with no thought of the impact of such actions on the everyday life of Roma people – limiting their personal, educational and job development. It hinders the exercise of our rights as the fully-fledged citizens that we are." 

The Special Eurobarometer on Discrimination 2015 confirmed this vigorous rejection of the Roma community by European society. Moreover, based on data complied by FSG in 2015, Roma women fall victim to discrimination more often than men (nearly 52% of recorded cases), entailing double discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity and gender. 

In its most recent report on Discrimination and the Roma Community, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano found that antigypsysm is a particular form of racism endured historically by Roma people. It is founded in stigmatising and translates into discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes. "Combating anti-Roma sentiment must become a clear objective for public authorities and political leaders, with targeted prevention and awareness measures and protection for its victims."

Listen to the experiences of several Roma people as regards discrimination

Do you want to know why Amanda decided to get tattoed?

Jorge, the tattoo artist, explains his reasons to join the initiative

Know more about the impact of the campaign