Open main menu

Tarana Burke (born September 12, 1973) is an African-American civil rights activist from The Bronx, New York who founded the Me Too movement. In 2006, Burke began using the phrase "Me Too" to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society, and the phrase developed into a broader movement, following the 2017 use of #MeToo as a hashtag following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. Time named Burke, among a group of other prominent activists dubbed "the silence breakers", as the Time Person of the Year for 2017. Burke attends public speaking events across the country and is currently Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn.

Tarana Burke
Tarana Burke from She's Revolutionary.jpg
Burke in 2018 biographical documentary
Born (1973-09-12) September 12, 1973 (age 45)
Alma materAuburn University
OccupationActivist
Years active2003–present
Organization
Known forFounder, Me Too movement
MovementMe Too
WebsiteMe Too Movement – official website

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Burke was born in The Bronx, New York, and raised in the area.[1][2] She grew up in a low-income, working-class family in a housing project and was raped and sexually assaulted both as a child and a teenager. Her mother supported her recovery from these violent acts and encouraged her to be involved in the community. In her biography she states that these experiences inspired her to work to improve the lives of girls who undergo extreme hardships.[2] As a teenager, she became involved in working to improve the lives of young girls living in marginalized communities.[3] Burke attended Alabama State University then transferred and graduated from Auburn University.[4][5] During her time in college, she organized press conferences and protests regarding economic and racial justice.[5]

CareerEdit

After graduation, she moved to Selma, Alabama in the late 1990s.[6] After working with survivors of sexual violence, Burke developed the nonprofit "Just Be" in 2003, which was an all-girls program for young black girls aged 12 to 18.[7][6][8] In 2006, Burke founded the Me Too movement and began using the phrase "Me Too" to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society.[2][9]

In 2008, she moved to Philadelphia and worked at Art Sanctuary Philadelphia and other non-profits.[10] She was a consultant for the 2014 Hollywood movie Selma, based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis.[2][11][12]

The phrase "Me Too" developed into a broader movement following the 2017 use of #MeToo as a hashtag following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. On October 15, 2017, Burke was notified by her friends that the MeToo hashtag was being used online. Burke decided to be in service and shape the movement to make it about "empowermental empathy".[13] Time named Burke, among a group of other prominent female activists dubbed "the silence breakers", as the Time Person of the Year for 2017.[14]

In 2018, she attended the 75th Golden Globe Awards as a guest of Michelle Williams.[15] Burke received the 2018 Prize for Courage from The Ridenhour Prizes, which is awarded to individuals who demonstrate courageous defense of the public interest and passionate commitment to social justice, for popularizing the phrase “me too” as a way to empathize with sexual assault survivors more than a decade ago.[16][17] Burke is currently Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity.[18] Burke organizes workshops to help improve policies at schools, workplaces, and places of worship, and focuses on helping victims not blame themselves for sexual violence.[1] Burke attends public speaking events across the country.[2]

ActivismEdit

Girls for Gender EquityEdit

Burke is the Senior Director of Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn, which strives to help young women of color increase their overall development through various programs and classes.[19][20]

Just Be Inc.Edit

In 1997, Burke met a young girl named Heaven in Alabama who told her about being sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend. She says she didn't know what to say, and never saw the girl again. She says she wished she had said "me too." Burke has said she came to believe young girls needed "different attention" than their male peers.[21] This and other incidents led Burke to found Just Be Inc., an organization that promotes the wellness of young female minorities aged 12–18. In 2006, she made a Myspace page.[3][22] Just Be Inc. received its first grant in 2007.[3]

Me Too movementEdit

In 2006, Burke founded the Me Too movement and began using the phrase "Me Too" to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society.[2][9]

The phrase "Me Too" developed into a broader movement following the 2017 use of #MeToo as a hashtag following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. In October 2017, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to say "Me Too" if they've experienced sexual harassment or assault, and the hashtag went viral. Milano quickly acknowledged Burke's earlier use of the phrase on Twitter, writing "I was just made aware of an earlier #MeToo movement, and the origin story is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring".[3][23] Burke has been supportive of the #MeToo hashtag.[3][24]

Time named Burke, among a group of other prominent female activists dubbed "the silence breakers", as the Time Person of the Year for 2017.[14]

Honors and awardsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Tarana Burke: Me Too movement can't end with a hashtag | Elizabeth Wellington". Philly.com. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Tarana Burke". Biography. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ohlheiser, Abby (19 October 2017). "The woman behind 'Me Too' knew the power of the phrase when she created it — 10 years ago". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  4. ^ "#MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Talks Sexual Assault, Stigmas And Society". Vibe. 2018-04-03. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  5. ^ a b Tribune, Waverly Colville Columbia Daily. "#MeToo movement founder speaks to capacity University of Missouri crowd". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  6. ^ a b "Tarana Burke: Me Too movement can't end with a hashtag | Elizabeth Wellington". Philly.com. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  7. ^ Alberski, Ania. "Former Phila. activist Tarana Burke among the 'Silence Breakers' honored by Time Magazine". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  8. ^ "justbeinc". justbeinc. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  9. ^ a b Garcia, Sandra E. (20 October 2017). "The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtags" – via www.nytimes.com.
  10. ^ "The Woman Who Began the #MeToo Movement Was a Philly Activist". Philadelphia Magazine. 2017-12-06. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  11. ^ Nyren, Erin (2018-01-07). "Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern to Be Accompanied by Activists at Golden Globes". Variety. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  12. ^ Trumbore, Dave (May 20, 2014). "Production Begins on Paramount's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Biopic, SELMA, Starring David Oyelowo". collider.com. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  13. ^ Burke, Tarana (February 10, 2018). Founder of #MeToo Movement Talk (Speech). AUSG Women's Initiative Award for Excellence in Activism. American University.
  14. ^ a b c "The woman behind the #MeToo movement on why she would never meet with Trump". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  15. ^ CNWN Collection. "Golden Globes 2018: How to Support the Activists' Causes". Allure. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  16. ^ "Truth-Telling at the 15th Ridenhour Prizes | Whistleblower Protection Blog". Whistleblower Protection Blog. 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  17. ^ "The Ridenhour Courage Prize for 2018: Tarana Burke". 18 April 2018 – via www.ridenhour.org.
  18. ^ "Girls for Gender Equity".
  19. ^ "Girls for Gender Equity". Girls for Gender Equity. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  20. ^ "'Silence Breakers' Like GGE's Tarana Burke named TIME Person of the Year". Girls for Gender Equity. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  21. ^ "Just Be Organization". http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/board. External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  22. ^ "justbeinc". Justbeinc.wixsite.com. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  23. ^ Parker, Najja. "Who is Tarana Burke? Meet the woman who started the Me Too movement a decade ago". ajc.
  24. ^ "Tarana Burke, the activist behind 'Me Too,' on where the movement goes from here - The Boston Globe".
  25. ^ "Announcing the 2018 Voices of the Year". BlogHer. Retrieved 2018-10-30.

External linksEdit