(My first White Button)
Ok tiny band of people who read this, I need your help to spread a message:
Sew on a White Button!
It’s a long story which I will write soon but I want to get to the point quickly today. There was a reception yesterday in the President of Ireland’s house 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 but here’s the line that breaks my heart,
Ireland failed you.
After the meeting with the president six busses and multiple taxis arrived for a reception at the Mansion House in Dublin. I was lucky enough to be standing on the footpath outside the Mansion House as the women and their families arrived. It was the most emotional gathering I have ever attended. The gardai stopped the traffic when the first woman arrived and there was a stillness. Then the clapping began. The clapping continued for an hour until every woman was inside. Then we walked home. I can’t forget these woman. And I don’t want to.
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?)
I woke up this morning with a fire in my belly – I don’t want these women forgotten! This is where I need your help. I want you to share the be-japers out of this idea. There is so little we can do but we can do this. Honour these women by remembering them.
Sew a white button for the Magdalenes, 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, to share what you remember about that old kind of Ireland (the one before this generation voted for a new kind of Ireland.) 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.
Thank you, Mairead.
PS Why white? A symbol of their beautiful essence untouched by the shaming.
PPS: There’s a website now… whitebutton.ie