If you refer to Roma or Romani people as “gypsies,” please stop. That word makes people think of beggars, fortunetellers and thieves instead of the many contributions the Romani people have made in music, dance, the arts and many other fields.

You also might reflect upon how many Roma were persecuted and killed in the past, just because of their ethnicity, and how many continue to face exclusion and discrimination.

An estimated 1 million people of Romani descent live in the United States. The California-based Voice of Roma organization hosts an annual Herdeljezi Festival to “celebrate Romani culture and learn about the struggle of Roma to combat discrimination.”

Herdeljezi is a traditional Roma neighborhood celebration marking the end of the cold weather season and the arrival of warmer temperatures. Participants display and share music, crafts, clothing, dancing and food.

Are the Romani people in your country treated with the same respect and tolerance given to others? April 8, International Romani Day, is a good day to reflect on that question.