News & Opinion » Activism

Tarana Burke, founder of #metoo, to speak at UR


Tarana Burke, founder of the original, pre-social media era “#metoo” movement, on Monday, February 5, will speak at the University of Rochester. Burke is a sexual assault survivor who, for more than 25 years, has worked for social justice and helped build the structure for the survivor solidarity that we’re seeing today.

Burke initiated the movement in order to amplify the marginalized voices of young women of color who had experienced sexual abuse, assault, and harassment. In recent months, #metoo has accelerated international discussions about the pervasiveness of sexual assault and the damaging harassment that women deal with on a daily basis.

Grassroots social movements like this can operate like the Furies — the decentralized swarm of righteous retribution is leaving perpetrators with no place to hide. Institutions are scrambling to save face and update terrible policies; rapists and misogynists in field after field are losing their power and influence; and men everywhere have broken a sweat while they think twice about their abusive, power-flexing behavior, which some dudes have always known is way the fuck out of line.

While there’s a lot more work to be done, it’s a great time to be alive.

Burke is senior director of programs at the Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity. Her talk takes place at 8 p.m. in the Feldman Ballroom, Frederick Douglass Commons, on the University of Rochester River Campus. Organized by the UR Student Programming Board. Tickets are $15 for the general public; $10 for UR grads, faculty, staff, and alumni; and $5 for UR students.