• Clodagh Meaney

Founder of Me Too movement Tarana Burke opens up about what needs to happen next

"What we need to be talking about is the everyday woman, man, trans person, child and disabled person."


Founder of the Me Too movement, Tarana Burke, has opened up about what needs to happen next.


The 46-year-old from Bronx, New York began the movement in 2006 to raise awareness of women who had been abused.


Following the conviction of Harvey Weinstein on rape and criminal sex acts, she says there is still a lot to do.


"Harvey Weinstein is a symbolic case. To see a high profile, rich white man be convicted of a crime in general is always astonishing," Tarana told BBC Radio One.


"Seeing what "celebrity goes to jail or not, is not sustainable as a movement".


Tarana said what people need to be focusing on is the everyday people who deal with sexual violence everday.


"What we need to be talking about is the everyday woman, man, trans person, child and disabled person. All the people who are not rich, white and famous, who deal with sexual violence on everyday basis."


"We need to talk about the systems that are still in place that allow that to happen."



Speaking about the intersectionality of the Me Too movement and Black Lives Matter, Tarana said it's about dismantling the misuse of privilege and power, which can often lead to racism and sexism.


"They're [both] about fighting against injustice. Both movements are predicated on undoing systems of oppression."


She said she often feels like the deaths of black men in custody get more attention than that of black women, adding: "not to diminish anything about those black men who unjustly lost their lives."


"If you're a black woman who was on the street, fighting, screaming, chanting, marching, protesting and fighting back to show the world that Black Lives Matter, we don't just mean black men's lives," she explained.

"If you're a black woman you have to deal with excessive force, the possibility of being killed by police and sexual harassment at the hands of the police."


The movement became a viral hashtag in 2017 when Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano, who is one of Harvey Weinstein's accusers, tweeted asking the internet to reply with "me too" if they had been sexually assaulted or harassed.





"It's not just social media, it's who brought it to social media, and how it was brought to social media," Tarana said of the viral hashtag.


"Those women who got up and came forward around Harvey Weinstein had no idea that it was going to spark a global movement."


"It's not just social media, it's who brought it to social media, and how it was brought to social media," she said of the hashtag.


She further credits Alyssa Milano for crediting her work when the movement took off.

"People didn't know who I was, and people still don't know who I am. What do you do with a 46-year-old black woman from the Bronx, who's not polished, who doesn't look anything like even a black woman in Hollywood."


"If Alyssa Milano didn't say: 'Wait a minute, I didn't start this. This black woman named Tarana Burke started this', people would not know my name."


If you have been affected by any of the themes in this article, please reach out.

Women’s Aid -  1800 34 19 00

Rape Crisis Centre - 1800 77 88 88


Read more:

€17 million settlement offered to Harvey Weinstein survivors is slammed by their lawyers

Jefferey Epstein's alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI

© 2020 by EMPWR

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