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Documenting Romanian Immigration in Minnesota

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

FOURTH CONFERENCE OF ROMANIAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS

VESTED IN WEAVING SOCIAL COHESION

Featured Project of Excellence during the Opening Plenary Session, Dec. 2nd 2022


This project of excellence featured during the opening session of our annual conference is a multi-year oral history effort expected to lead next year, with your support, to a new documentary on current, post-communist Romanian migration to the United States. Dana Voller is the Vice President of the Heritage Organization of Romanians in Minnesota, St. Paul, MN and she provided an overview of the community organization which, for a relatively small community, punches above its weight in terms of expertise and outstanding project implementation results.

Established in 2009 the organization succeeded to raise funds and establish a Romanian American Cultural Center inside the iconic Landmark Center in St. Paul’s. The center is the focal point for projects that address not just the socialization needs of the diaspora community but just as importantly present Romanian traditions and values to the wider public visiting the center.

Among the exhibits and presentations featured at the cultural center we would like to highlight the “Romanian Spring Traditions Exhibit” opened this year, which received media attention and was later brought to the Washington, DC and incorporated in the European Union Open House exhibit hosted by the Embassy of Romania to the United States. It is was a HORA team effort led by exhibit curator, historian, and Cultural Center Director Raluca Octav. Among the projects of excellence implemented recently, we would like to also highlight the “Stitches of Love” project featured last year within our annual conference as model of best practice to be replicated in other diaspora hubs.

While HORA's success in securing grants and successfully delivering quality documentaries was featured in previous annual conferences, is important to recall the focus of the two documentaries implemented already, which can be seen online:

A Thousand Dollars and Back

and

Through the Iron Curtain-From Romania.”

These were always intended to become a trilogy that reflects on the historic waves and experiences of migration and integration up to the present.



IRF and HORA have been working towards creating awareness about the closing window of opportunity to conduct such oral history project within other diaspora hubs and the importance of such testimonies for the anchoring and self-understanding of newcomers and second generation immigrants in negotiating their cultural belonging, their roots and valuable composite identity within American diversity.

This trilogy of documentaries are the first ones to focus on Romanian Immigration to the United States. We hope that HORA’s work encourages other organizations to start documenting Romanian immigration stories and preserve our cultural heritage. The collection of testimonies and the professional recording of first and second generation migrants is work that was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. In December 2021, HORA was awarded a Legacy Grant to conduct the third oral history project. The first part of the project which included the recording of multi-generational interviews was completed in 2022 and was done in collaboration with RGS (Romanian Genealogy Society) and IRF (Immigration Research Forum). HORA needs your support NOW for the second part of this project, which has a goal of creating the third documentary film. For more information on this project, please check out our site: Documenting Romanian Immigration Project – Heritage Organization of Romanian Americans in Minnesota (hora-mn.org).

By February 1st we need to raise $15,000 to cover costs for the documentary script, which is needed before applying for more grants in 2023. Your gift now is an investment in preserving Romanian heritage in Minnesota and the US. Any amount will make a difference and will be highly appreciated. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your past, present and future support!

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