Lessons from Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke is the founder of the “me too” movement. This organization was developed as a safe space for women and girls who were victims of sexual violence. In the last three years, it has grown into a global force. Our editor-in-chief had the chance to speak with Tarana before she took the stage as part of Tuskegee University’s lyceum series.

When building momentum, you should always focus on your supporters. It’s easy to lose focus when too much time is spent on the nay-sayers. A movement has to be bigger than the opposition. And a movement takes off when you let people take full advantage of their talents. When everyone is working in their own expertise, synergy is created. Synergy leads to expansion. Purpose is should be like tunnel vision.

There’s power in pain. The pain and burden that haunts victims of sexual violence is indescribable. But, in her years of working as an activist, Burke has seen that same anguish turn into a powerful sense of purpose or existence. Everyone should take note of that. It’s human nature to experience pain, what we do with that negative energy is the difference between a breakdown and a breakthrough.

In Tarana Burke’s own words, the mission of me too is “a simple concept but a very complex reality”. Her work has changed the fabric of the way we discuss tense topics. The vocabulary has changed. Education and re-socialization have gone beyond buzzwords; they are common practice. Humans have the capacity to change- it’s in all of us. “We’re here to make the ground softer for the next generation” Tarana said.

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