Black History Month - Honoring Tarana Burke

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This week's Black History Month spotlight is on Tarana Burke.Tarana has become an American civil rights activist by raising awareness on sexual abuse and assault throughout society. In 1997, when working as a youth worker at a youth camp predominately for children of color, Tarana met a young girl named Heaven. After a bonding session with a group of the girls, Heaven came to Tarana in hopes to speak with her privately. She told Tarana about her mother’s boyfriend who was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her. Tarana became horrified by what Heaven was telling her and eventually had to direct her to another counselor. Seeing the look on Heaven’s face is something that has stuck with Tarana and is what lead her to wanting to help.

After years of developing her program, Just Be Inc. was founded in 2006 as an organization that promotes the wellness of young female minorities. The organization started as a way to give young women, particularly women of color from low-income communities, a sense of empowerment by knowing that they aren’t alone.

The statement, “Me Too”, was developed as a catchphrase to be used from survivor-to-survivor to let them know that they aren’t alone and that a movement for healing is possible.

It wasn’t until 2017 that the organization and the statement “Me Too” truly began to take off on social media. Within 24 hours of actress Alyssa Milano tweeting “#MeToo”, 12 million individuals followed suit.

Recently, Tarana was named one of TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year by being known as the “Silence Breakers” by speaking out against sexual violence and harassment, though she was not featured in Time Magazine’s picture covering her movement. She was also able to go to the 2018 Golden Globes alongside Michelle Williams, who, along with eight other Hollywood actresses, brought activists with them as their guests to shed light on sexual harrassment and violence against women and girls.

Please visit the Just Be Inc website for more information on their programs and the #MeToo movement!