Although Tarana Burke didn’t have the words at the time — back in 1997 when a young girl confided in her about being sexually abused — she spoke them later and louder, sending reverberations around the world.
Those words, “me too,” have resonated with young and old, rich and poor, black and white and every ethnicity in between, spurring a global social movement that has reshaped politics, workplaces, industries and individual lives.
“The simple yet courageous #metoo hashtag campaign has emerged as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment,” according to the University of Iowa Lecture Committee, which is hosting Burke in the Iowa Memorial Union on Tuesday evening.
Burke’s social advocacy started long before the current #metoo movement with her founding in 2006 of Just Be Inc., an organization aimed at supporting wellness for young women of color. She’s also senior director of programs at Girls for Gender Equity, a Brooklyn nonprofit focused on strengthening communities and opportunities for women.
She’s planning to visit both Iowa State University and the UI next week.
Burke’s activism goes deeper and further than the recent surge in sexual assault and abuse revelations that have brought down Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and others. But her more than 25 years of social justice work “unknowingly helped pave the way for what was to come,” according to an Iowa State news release.
Actress Alyssa Milano last year, in response to allegations against film producer Weinstein, used the hashtag #metoo on Twitter, launching the viral movement.
Time magazine named Burke, along with others like her, as “the silence breakers” and its collective 2017 “person of the year.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“A sexual assault survivor herself, Tarana is now working under the banner of the ‘me too’ movement to assist other survivors and those who work to end sexual violence,” according to the UI Lecture Committee.
“On stage, she provides words of empowerment that lift up marginalized voices, enables survivors across all races, genders or classes to know that they are not alone and creates a place for comfort and healing to those who have experienced trauma.”
If you go:
Iowa State University
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Where: Stephens Auditorium on the ISU campus
Cost: No tickets are required for the free, public lecture, with general admission seating.
University of Iowa
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Main Lounge in the Iowa Memorial Union
Cost: Free and general admission seating
l Comments: (319) 339-3158; email@example.com