Civil rights activist Tarana Burke in 2006 founded the "Me Too" movement, which a decade later became a global phenomenon that raised awareness about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault in society in 2017.
Born in the Bronx, Burke is Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn.
Burke started her professional career in Selma, Alabama where she worked with the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute, and the Black Belt Arts and Cultural Center. In 2003, she turned her focus to young women of color and co-founded Jendayi Aza, an African-centered Rites of Passage program for girls which evolved into Just Be, Inc. In 2008, Burke moved to Philadelphia and worked at Art Sanctuary Philadelphia. Burke also served as a consultant for Selma (2014), the Oscar-nominated film about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
On October 15, 2017 at 4:21pm, actress Alyssa Milano used the social media platform, Twitter, to invite those who have experienced sexual harassment, abuse, or assault into a global fight for recognition. In a few short days, 40,000 people had responded to Milano’s tweet directly and more than 12 million people had used the hashtag across social media.
Tarana Burke originally coined the phrase “me too” while working at Just Be Inc., a nonprofit she founded in 2003 that focused on the health, well-being, and wholeness of young women of color. Burke was talking with a girl who revealed that her mother’s boyfriend had been sexually abusing her. Burke was left searching for the right words to help empathize with the thousands of women and girls who have disclosed their experiences to her. Ever since, Burke has shared the message with survivors everywhere: “You’re not alone. This happened to me too.”
Her daughter, Kaia Burke, was born in Selma, Alabama in 1998 and Tarana raised her as a single mother. Tarana Burke is currently writing a memoir, Here the Light Enters: The Founding of the ‘Me Too.’ Movement, to be released by Simon & Schuster imprint Ink 37 in 2019.