My own identity of Roma is shaped by the stories of my mother. She told me, always, that I need to be more advanced in order to be treated equally like others. She taught me from these stories how it is to win against the odds. Roma, of course, has been the most discriminated against, suppressed minority in Europe and I made it my life’s work to help them. Since the early 1990s, the Open Society Foundations have given more than $330 million to initiatives for improving the lives of Roma. When I set up my first foundation in Hungary in 1984, the foundation took the plight of the Roma very seriously and focused on education and culture. The Open Society Foundations are the largest private donor for Roma issues. Over the years, thousands of Roma women and men have taken up leadership roles in their communities. Together, we work to end discrimination and achieve change for Europe’s 12 million Roma. The Roma Initiative is central to our mission of trying to promote just societies that have meaningful representation that can critique their government without fear of reprisal, and can have the expectation of reciprocity, from institutions that are important in the societies that they live in. This is why the Open Society Foundations and George Soros play such an important role. His idea was, how could their chances be raised through education and by helping them stand in their own communities. The knowledge, the power, the tools that I have is all through Open Society Foundations. Open Society helps Roma, empowers them in a way that no one does. It’s a multitude of things: education, participation, representation. When you have those three dynamics together, you get the political mobilization that influences manifestos, that influences policy. Get them all together, and you’ve got a chance. There’s now a push for the Roma themselves to start using their political and civic space to fight for their rights and inclusion in European society and be taken seriously as a constituency. Over the past 10 years, the Roma Education Fund has provided more than 12,800 scholarships to Roma students. I’m working in an organization that works in providing support in the academic and professional development of the Roma students. These young people are the future generation that can actually improve the situation of the Roma. The people need to know our history; people need to show empathy to our culture and our tradition. In 2017, Open Society helped launch the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, the first ever institution dedicated to Roma culture. The European Roma Arts and Cultural Institute is essential for that, it aims, actually, to show to Europe that Roma have been contributing a lot to European history, arts, culture, education. It will speak about our heritage, it will speak about how we see the world, and how we see the future. This institution will tell the story of who we are and who we are not. Today, the Roma movement is growing as new leaders emerge. These activists are working to organize their communities, build grassroots change, and demand justice It is time now for us to move. It is time now for us to get organized, to get our communities mobilized, to show that through skills, knowledge, collective power, we can change the lives of Roma, and we don’t need to wait anymore for policies. We can start from our own people.