#MeToo founder Tarana Burke wore a glittering gold gown on the red carpet Sunday evening for the Black Girls Rock awards show. She had her hair pulled back in a sleek, voluminous ponytail and paired her sparkling gown with a snakeskin clutch and gold bracelets. Burke was presented with the Community Change Award for her activism and work for victims of sexual assault. For the event, she was joined by her daughter, Kaia Burke.
In 2006, long before the #MeToo movement swept the globe, Burke was credited with coining the term after her own experience of sexual assault and seeing the need for victims to share their experiences. The same year, she founded Just Be, Inc., an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of young women of color.
Behind the scenes, Burke had for years been advocating for young women of color as well as those who were victims of sexual violence, but only in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein accusations has she became a public symbol for the movement.
In January, Burke was joined in solidarity by several Hollywood A-list actresses, including Michelle Williams and Reese Witherspoon, at the Golden Globes for the debut of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, for victims of sexual assault, violence, and inequality in the workplace. The fund was established at the height of the Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement.
Recently, Asia Argento, one of the first women to come forward against Weinstein and become an activist in the #MeToo movement, was accused of allegedly sexually assaulting 17-year-old actor Jimmy Bennett. During this revelation, Burke took to Twitter to reemphasize that the #MeToo movement is for all victims. “I’ve said repeatedly that the
#metooMVMT is for all of us, including these brave young men who are now coming forward. It will continue to be jarring when we hear the names of some of our faves connected to sexual violence unless we shift from talking about individuals … and begin to talk about power.”
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