Recognising the power of women-led grassroots organising

Today the power of women-led grassroots organising, the power of a movement which changed Ireland forever by voting yes to choice, and yes to our reproductive rights in the campaign to repeal the 8th, receives international recognition.

We are the impossible story. We are the ones who refused to listen when they told us free, safe and legal abortion was a step too far.

Today is about all of us. It’s about every person who set up a stall in communities, towns and villages throughout Ireland and put themselves out there for our human rights. It’s about every person who wheeled a buggy up and down country lanes to knock on doors so we could have the right to choose. It’s about every person who shared their story—you shouldn’t have had to—but you powered our movement. It’s about every person no longer here to tell their story because of the cruelties of our law. We will never forget you, your stories became part of us and fuelled our anger, we needed to try to make it right. It’s about every person who voted Yes. It’s about every person who couldn’t vote, and who campaigned in their numbers for all of us. It’s about every person who hoped, dreamed and fought. Today is about amazing women.

Ireland has become a beacon of hope in the global fight for abortion rights. We look to our comrades in Malta, Gibraltar, Argentina, Brazil, Poland, the Philippines, the US, and everywhere reproductive freedoms have been denied and compromised. We are in solidarity with you, and our solidarity is our great strength. We look closer to home where our comrades in the North continue to be denied access to basic healthcare. We are an all-island campaign, and we didn’t vote for free, safe and legal access for some.

We achieved something phenomenal last May, but our struggle is far from over. And we will continue to fight with all we have, because the system we have today isn’t good enough, because we deserve better and can do far better. For our comrades in the North. For marginalised communities who suffer more under our healthcare system. For reproductive justice globally. We will continue until no one is left behind.

You can read Ruth Negga’s piece about the three Together4Yes co-directors at the TIME100 website