Tarana Burke - Me too is a movement, not a moment.
CW: systemic sexual violence, Me Too movement, Kavanaugh
Last month, Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, gave a talk about the movement’s progress at TEDwomen. Burke importantly clarifies the hardship she, along with all other survivors, face in the current political climate (e.g. the election of Kavanaugh in SCOTUS, Trump etc.). She defines the numbness she feels in her experience trying to advocate and help society change for the benefit of vulnerable survivors. Her talk is honest and doesn’t pretend everything is now great in the wake of Me Too and the ensuing exposures of predators. She lets us know it is ok to feel numb, tired and unhopeful - because she gets those feelings too.
But, she also knows that possibility is the only way forward. “Trauma halts possibility. Movement activates it.” Burke says, “I have been propelled by possibility for most of my life,” she says. “Possibility is a gift. It births new worlds and it births vision … Those who came before didn’t win every fight. But it did not kill their vision, it fueled it.”. Burke recounts that she started the Me Too movement in 2006, lay on her bed in her one bedroom apartment by writing on a piece of paper the simple words ‘Me Too’. She saw the sexual violence in her community and knew she had to do something to try and change that. She nurtured the idea of empathy sharing between survivors, and wanted to shift the focus away from solely trauma to the ways survivors actually survive and thrive through and after their traumas (see where I found inspiration?). Twelve years later, the movement has had a global impact and will continue to do so. As Burke ends with: “We owe future generations nothing less than a world free of sexual violence,” she says. “I believe we can build that world. Do you?”
Watch the talk here: