After the creation of that organization in 1987 in Brazil, the idea was brought to Argentina in 1989, where the CEC presented the Romani culture and music at the Centro Cultural San Martín, one of the most important venues in Argentina, to a vast and joyful non-Roma audience, amongst whom a few members of our community were present. This impacted positively on the Argentinian Roma, who later informally set up Narodo Rromano, which, though never legally registered, advised local TV while it produced three consecutive TV programs about our culture, during that period. After that Narodo Rromano’s activities ceased, and for the following eight years, no such activity took place until the creation of Identidad Cultural Romaní (AICRA), in 2000. However, other Romani organizations such as CEC Minas Gerais and CEC São Paulo, had appeared in Brazil, but none with much success. Today the inheritor of CEC is the Uniao Cigana do Brasil (Romani Union of Brazil), of which Mio Vasite is still president.
During the year 1998, PRORROM, a Colombian Romani organization, appeared in that country. Subsequently two other organizations emerged; ASOROM, in Ecuador (established in 2000), and the Unión Romaní de Colombia (also in 2000). All of these took shape under the authority of the Romani Kris and the Kumpanias (reflecting the leading role of Kalderash, who are present in every country and other Vlach Romani groups). The first two organizations played an important role as mediators, making it possible for many Romani NGOs to participate at the United Nations’ “Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia”, in Durban (2001). Prior to the conference, a group of Roma activists from USA, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina met in Quito, Ecuador in 2001. This was the first step to creating SKOKRA - a federation of the Roma NGOs of the Americas. During the meeting in Quito, the participants elaborated a joint declaration, entitled “The Other Sons of Pacha Mama: Declaration of the Roma People of the Americas”.
At the same time an interesting event took place in Chile, when a group of Romani musicians had the opportunity to advise Chilean TV in their realization of a Romani soap opera Romané, which had great success across the whole continent, and even in the U.S.A. Later, another Romani organization was born in Chile, Unión Romaní de Chile, promoted by PROROM and later by AICRA.
In the last 15 years the links between the Romani organizations in the Americas, from Canada to Tierra del Fuego, have emerged and strengthened every day, In 2005, the first Congress of Roma People in the Americas was organized in Mexico. In recent years the UN promoted some workshops, to which were invited representatives of the Romani people from Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Canada, and Mexico, under the umbrella of SKOKRA (the federation of the Roma NGOs in the Americas). These took place in 2015 (Brasilia), and 2017 (Buenos Aires). Important leaders, in addition to Mio Vacite in Brazil include Ana Dalila Gómez for Colombia Titino Nicolich, and nowadays Spiro Nicolich in Chile, Oscar Juanito Montes in Peru, and Alfredo Yancovich who plays a leading role in both Ecuador and Mexico.
Although, Romani NGOs are hardly a mass movement amongst the skeptical Romani populations in the Americas, little-by-little acceptance has grown. The problems that face them today, include lack of finance, being ignored by local governments, and pressures from both the traditional structures of the Kris system, which remains strong in the Americas, and of the Romani evangelical churches. This movement, born in France in 1951, and reaching the Kalderash there in 1960, has spread throughout the entire American continent. In Argentina alone, there are more than fifteen such churches, and in the United States, three times as many. This evangelical movement has been as large an external influence on Romani culture, as has formal education.
SKOKRA and other Romani NGOs identify as some of the main objectives vis-à-vis the outside world as to promote Romani culture, and its uniqueness, to stop racism, to support other minorities in danger or which suffer discrimination, such as the Native American People and to follow the worldwide Romani movement and its international struggle. Within the Romani communities, the NGOs seek to preserve our Romani culture, language, kumpanias, kris and values, to appraise the contribution of formal education to our culture, to generate the promotion of our people, whilst keeping within our traditional values and to resolve legal problems (by organizing legal support).