Ronald Lee

Romani Canadian Author, linguist, and activist

Ronald Lee is a Romani Canadian, born in Montreal. He is a journalist and author and from 2003 to 2008, he taught a spring seminar, the Romani Diaspora in Canada (NEW 343 H1S) , at New College, University of Toronto, as part of the Equity Studies Program, Department of Humanities. He is a founding member, former executive director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roma Community Center, in Toronto, registered in 1998, which assists Romani newcomers to Canada with their social integration and serves as a cultural center which organizes ethnic Romani events for the local Romani community and to acquaint other Canadians with Romani culture, music, history and their situation in the refugee-producing countries including those who are members of the EU. Its mandate and ongoing work can be seen at www.romatoronto.org.

He has four published books to date, Goddam Gypsy, a semi-autobiographical novel about Romani life in Montreal and Canada in the 1960s, first published by Tundra Books of Montreal in 1971, and also published in Spanish, German, Czech and a Japanese translation and now republished under its original title of The Living Fire by Magoria Books of Toronto, Learn Romani, an 18-lesson self-study course of Kalderash Romani, published in 2005 by University of Hertfordshire Press and a two volume dictionary of Kalderash Romani published by Magoria Books of Toronto. . His current manuscript, The Gypsy Invasion: Romani Refugees in Canada 1997-2017, is currently being revised and updated for publication.

He has also written numerous newspaper and magazine articles about Roma in Canada and more recently, about the Romani refugee situation in Canada, as well as scholarly articles in academic publications such as Chapter 9, of Gypsy Law: Romani Legal Traditions and Culture, which was originally published as an article in The American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 103 (November 1993), pp.323-399 entitled “The Rom-Vlach Gypsies and the Kris-Romani.”

He has also lectured extensively for colleges and universities, both in Canada and in the US and also, in the Toronto area, for public and private organizations, libraries, elementary and high schools. He is currently an advisor  on the Board of Directors of the Roma Community Centre in Toronto.