ILMI eBulletin March 10th 2023

ILMI Logo Independent Living Movement Ireland. Freedom Rights Empowerment

ILMI International Women’s Day Gathering 2023
IMAGE photo collage of all the Guest speakers, Selina Bonnie, Rachel Hurst CBE, Professor Elaine Short, Shelby Lynch, Louise Bruton, Caprice-Kwai, Jenny McShane, Sarah Gordy MBE. And of the IWD ILMI Team: Claire Fiona Paula Nicola Shelly and Nina

When Irish women come together, they a force to be reckoned with – when disabled Irish women come together then walls will quake and ceilings shatter. This year, to mark International Women’s Day, the women of ILMI planned and executed an event that was all at once enlightening, and indeed, elegant. It was powerful. Not in any pedestrian sense, but rather a subtle and lingering power. One that goes the distance – all the way.

Here, on a Tuesday night in March, over 100 disabled women from across Ireland, the UK and US and beyond, gathered together. We heard from activists, scientists, actors, journalists, fashionistas, and designers. We heard tales of invention, perseverance, creativity and collective action. But there were no tales of overcoming, none of being utilised as a token. As Toni Morrison wrote: “If you wanna fly, you gotta give up that shit that weighs you down.” Instead, on this March night in Ireland, we heard the voices that make walls tremble and ceilings break, all of them. This, for certain, was a unique event.

To all of you who came thank you again, for all of you who couldn’t make it we are pleased to say there is a video being worked on as we speak and will be available on our YouTube channel very shortly. Do you want to work on disabled Women’s issues? Then contact us on

Caprice’s jewellery designs
Louise’s Legless in Dublin subscription page

The Passing of a Legend
IMAGE: Photo of  Judy Heumann

“Judith “Judy” Heumann—widely regarded as “the mother” of the disability rights movement—passed away in Washington, D.C. on the afternoon of March 4, 2023. Judy was at the forefront of major disability rights demonstrations, helped spearhead the passage of disability rights legislation, founded national and international disability advocacy organizations, held senior federal government positions, co-authored her memoir, Being Heumann, and its Young Adult version, Rolling Warrior, and was featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary film, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution.”

ILMI was very saddened to hear of the passing of our great friend Judy, Judith Heumann. It is a terrible loss to the global disability rights movement, her grace, her light, her sheer force will be sorely missed by us all. However we will all in our individual ways seek to further her legacy. ILMI sends our deepest condolences to her family, friends and all those whose lives were made brighter by her presence. May you rest in power Judy RIP #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs

The World Mourns the Passing of Judy Heumann, Disability Rights Activist

Selina Bonnie ILMI Vice Chair
IMAGE: photo shows Selina Bonnie

On International Women’s Day 2023, it is clear that disabled women in Ireland and elsewhere continue to face multiple barriers and prejudices in living a life of their choice. “Disabled Dublin woman faced ‘prejudice and barriers’ while trying to become a mum” Selina Bonnie, Vice Chair of the Independent Living Movement in Ireland, went through IVF before giving birth to her daughter, who is now 15.

Ms Bonnie now strongly focuses on reproductive justice due to the struggles she had in becoming a mum. Read the full article here.

Sign the petition End Forced Sterilisation
Acts of violence against disabled women and girls must be included in the EU Directive on Violence against Women. On International Women’s Day we call to End Forced Sterilisation.

Join The European Disability Forum (EDF) and sign the petition to ban this practice in the EU

Disability Matters Committee
The presentations and discussion this week at the Committee on Disability Matters were really powerful. The Topic: Self-Advocacy and Disabled Women.

Opening statement, Amy Hassett, Co-director, et al., Disabled Women Ireland
Opening statement, Eliona Gjecaj, Disability activist and researcher
Video Link 

DPOs Update
IMAGE: photo shows Peter in action in a theatre hall with a group of motivated people

ILMI continues its positive social model presence in the north west with support for local DPOs. Leitrim DPO participants continued their collectivism advocacy journey with Theatre of the Oppressed techniques with another Manorhamilton Glens Arts Centre workshop with ILMI’s Peter Kearns. Peter, who worked throughout to 90s & 00s with Brazilian born Forum Theatre creator and author Augusto Boal, is supporting the Leitrim DPO Actors to develop drama stories communicating their shared lived experiences of local medical model situations & crises to be performed to County Council members and HSE staff to incite them to arrive at effective social model informed systematic change & transformations with the DPO members. The DPO cross-impairment ‘label’ group are regularly joined by Teresa Butler, Community Development Officer of Leitrim Development Company, who will be transforming the DPO dramatic issues into policy themes to include in county strategic plans alongside ILMI’s Peter.

Peter is also facilitating Sligo DPO and Sligo PPN’s 2nd social model workshop to inform members access stories to be filmed and uploaded onto social media platforms – Monday 13th March on Zoom at 7pm to 8.30pm – If you live, work or are in education anywhere in Sligo County you can join Peter’s fun & creative video workshop by emailing

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