Woman of the Week: Tarana Burke

This week Paper Epiphanies is celebrating the incredibly inspiring Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too” movement and fellow panel-member at the Rose City Women’s Summit May 11th (come stop by!). Born in the Bronx, Tarana started her activism young: at age 14 she joined the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, an organization aimed at supporting and promoting young, community leaders. This trend of activism continued into university, at which Tarana earned the title of  ‘campus organizer’ after protesting the campus’s antiquated celebration of the Confederacy.

Following graduation, Tarana continued working at the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement in Selma, Alabama, all the while noticing that women needed different treatment from men. This observation lead to Tarana’s first solo organization “Just Be,” which targeted young black women, aged 12-18, aiming to help them enter adulthood with a good sense of self-worth and a hefty self-esteem. Throughout her experiences in “Just Be,” Tarana noticed the extreme amount of sexual violence stories that women approached her with. Well-acquainted with sexual abuse herself, Tarana felt she didn’t have the right words to say to them that she, too, had experienced sexual violence and they were not alone. From this idea arose the “Me Too” movement: started in 2006 and designed to draw attention to the overwhelming amount of sexual assaults and violence experienced by women.

In 2017 the movement took off in earnest and once it sparked, “Me too” became a roaring forest fire, catching from phone to phone, twitter account to twitter account. The hashtag, #metoo, went viral and soon many women in Hollywood and beyond took up the trend. Time named Tarana, among other female activists known as the “silence breakers,” as the Time Person of the Year. In addition, at the 2018 Golden Globes, Tarana and many other female activists were in attendance, accompanying several celebrities, all wearing black to highlight solidarity for women. Tarana is one of our favorite people and the definition of what it means to make a change and a difference. Today she continues her incredible work and we are honored and delighted to be on the Rose City Summit panel with her May 11th!

Check out the event: https://rosesummit.org/