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Hear Here Hilda Burkitt

Hilda Burkitt (19 July 1876 – 7 March 1955), our champion for Human Rights. Hilda told the Home Office she was “ready to lay down my life, to bring about the Freedom of my Sex” after already enduring being force fed in prison 291 times between 1909 and 1914. She was the last Suffragette to be force fed.

On Human Rights Day 2023, the last of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based violence, it is fitting to remember the suffering and the fortitude of Birmingham women like Hilda Burkitt to (eventually) ‘win’ the vote for Women in the UK.

Burkitt was arrested four times in 1909 alone, the last time in September when she threw a stone at the window of the Prime Minister’s train as it pulled out of Birmingham New street, the site of an impressive mural made up of more than 3,700 images of females from across the West Midlands and beyond in 2021.

Installation Timelapse by Video Vandal

Today marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR legacy challenges us to go on the offensive.  It demands that we resist the globalised, transnational and localised attacks against rights. But it also tells us this won’t be enough.  It asks of us too that we disrupt the building of world orders (and UK Governments) that reproduce historical privileges and injustices, violate rights and silence defenders.

Hear Here Her Story marked 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, by unveiling Ophelia’s ‘Cloak of Power’ representing lives and stories of women at the Library of Birmingham including the inspirational Hilda Burkitt. We have supported 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence running from 25th November until 10th December, Human Rights Day, and will continue to work in partnership to reflect on our past, challenge present injustices, and protect our rights and our planet for future generations.