Me Too founder Tarana Burke unveils We As Ourselves movement

Tarana Burke, civil rights activist and founder of the global ‘me too.’ movement for survivors of sexual assault along with actress Jurnee Smollet have joined forces to reveal a new campaign aimed at changing the conversation around sexual violence within the Black community. “We, As Ourselves” was created by MeToo with partners the National Women’s Law Center, and TIME’S UP Foundation, We, As Ourselves is a collaboration to reshape the narrative about sexual violence and its impact on Black survivors.

We, As Ourselves aims to reshape the narrative about sexual violence and its impact on Black survivors.

Many factors leave Black survivors unprotected and vulnerable to sexual violence, including a series of norms and narratives shaped by historical and systemic barriers rooted in a legacy of slavery and the commodification of Black bodies, cultural and societal myths about Black women’s sexuality, misogynoir, and the adultification of Black girls, and the complexities of speaking out within the Black community.

In an era when we are demanding justice for Black lives, we cannot forget about Black survivors.

Together, we are:

  • Fighting for Black survivors to safely share their stories and experiences;
  • Upending historical and cultural narratives that harm and silence Black survivors; and
  • Working in solidarity with our community to create conditions where the stories of Black survivors can be heard, believed, and supported.

A three-time survivor of sexual assault, Burke spent her teenage years committed to raising awareness and support for young black women and other women of color from low-wealth communities who survived sexual assault. She launched ‘me too.’ in 2006, more than 10 years before the movement had its catalytic moment in 2017. Building on her early activism work with girls in Alabama and her organization Just Be, ‘me too.’ has amassed a community of advocates at the forefront of creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence. At the cornerstone of the movement’s empowerment-through-empathy approach is a steadfast commitment to putting survivors at the front of its healing and advocacy work.

Formerly the senior director of Girls for Gender Equity, Burke continues to travel internationally, linking people and communities with organizing resources and research that will shape the next phase of ‘me too.’

Burke was awarded TIME’s Person of the Year in 2017 and in 2018 delivered her TED Talk “Me Too is a Movement, Not a Moment.” Burke contributes regularly to national media on current events and her memoir was released in the summer 2020.

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