This article is a part of our ‘Woman of the Week’ series, which highlights the work of cool contemporary women and ways in which we can support them!
The Basics: #metoo founder.
Who She Is: Tarana Burke is the famous activist who created the “Me Too” movement…in 2006, before it gained fame in 2017 (and continues to gain fame). She is outspoken about women’s rights, questioning systems and patriarchy, and ensuring that women get the help they need in the face of assault and harassment. She first realized that she, like almost every woman around her, had experienced assault and harassment, and thus the Me Too movement began. In 2008, she moved to Philadelphia, working at Art Sanctuary Philadelphia and a handful of other non profits before returning to New York, where she is continuing to do work empowering women of color and sexual assault and harassment victims.
Why You Should Love Her:
Tarana Burke founded Just Be, Inc. in 2006. Ten years before, in 1996, Burke was leading a workshop for young girls when a young woman approached her and told her how she was being sexually assaulted. Burke was so upset that she eventually stopped talking to the girl and instead referred her to a counselor. Burke has said in interviews that she wished she had said, “me too”, and continued to listen and show her support. She credits this moment as the one where the Me Too movement was born.
Now, Burke is senior director of Girls for Gender Equity in New York. She also created Just Be Inc, which strives to promote wellness of female minorities. She focuses especially on helping victims of sexual violence not blame themselves, and raising awareness about victim blaming. She also focuses on bringing awareness to how race impacts sexual violence. Her work is all about helping survivors of assault, and letting those survivors know that they are not alone by providing support. Burke often discusses how simple conversations between victims can begin to help them heal and come to terms with their past abuse (for those of you who do not know, 1 in 6 women has survived an attempted or completed rape).
Burke worked often with young teens of color when younger, which inspired her to create the Met Too Movement and Just Be, Inc. her empowering organization based out of Brooklyn. During the Harvery Weinstein accusations, celebrities and women all across the globe began using her #metoo hashtag, and it inspired the recent #metoo movement. Burke also attended the Golden Globes with Michelle Williams, was a consultant for the movie Selma, in 2014, and has really, really awesome style.
Her documentary, titled “Me, Too,” comes out this year.
How to Support Her:
Volunteer for her organizations. Donate through her website. Buy this guide to combating sexual harassment, written by women who are part of Girls for Gender Equity. Talk to your friends about how victim blaming is wrong, how sexual assault survivors need more platforms, and how we need and have to change how our country sees and handles sexual assault or harassment victims. Volunteer for organizations that help sexual assault and harassment survivors.