There was a reception in the President of Ireland’s house on Tuesday 5th June for more than 220 of the women who worked in the Magdalene Laundries (over 11,000 women worked in the laundries… against their will). You can read his speech here.
Ireland failed you.
After the meeting with the president six busses and multiple taxis arrived for a reception at the Mansion House in Dublin. There was a large group of ordinary people lucky enough to be standing on the footpath outside the Mansion House as the women and their families arrived. It was a most emotional gathering. The gardai stopped the traffic when the first taxi appeared, a woman was helped out and there was a stillness. Then the clapping began. The clapping continued for an hour until every woman was inside.
Overnight a tiny idea was born… Honour these women by remembering them.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (or women) do nothing. Edmund Burke.
(Everyone has a white button lurking in a drawer, right?)
Sew a white button, any white button, many white buttons, on to your clothes. Anywhere it will be seen. The Bigger the better. To remember, to honour, to start conversations about change. Wear it to tell these woman they don’t need to feel shame, they don’t need to hide, they don’t need to stay quiet. Wear it to tell them you will listen and you will remember.
Why a white button? White is a symbol of their beautiful essence untouched by the shaming.