The Ladies in White are the most internationally renowned civil rights movement in Cuba. The ‘Damas de Blanco’ formed in 2003 during the Cuban ‘Black Spring’, in which 75 civil rights activists and independent journalists were arbitrarily arrested. Since then, the wives, sisters, and mothers of the political prisoners have peacefully advocated for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba. Dressed in white, they regularly attend Sunday Mass in many cities in Cuba and then march in silence through the streets, with a gladiola in one hand, and a photo of jailed relatives in the other. Today, the movement in Cuba has well over one hundred members. In Cuba, wearing white clothing symbolizes resistance to the repressive Castro regime; as a result, there is an unwritten law in Cuban prisons against wearing white. In December 2005, the European Parliament awarded the 'Ladies in White' for their courageous commitment to human rights with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Although they face increasing violence and reprisals, the women refuse to give up their struggle for human rights and freedom in Cuba. They are regularly attacked by thugs that are linked to the regime, prevented by governmental bodies in exercising peaceful expression, and their human rights are impeded by force. Demanding these basic human rights has already costed several hundred people their freedom in Cuba.