Extraordinary Women Making History: Tarana Burke Is Fighting To Protect and Empower Victims of Sexual Abuse With #MeToo

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Our final feature #ExtraordinaryWomenMakingHistory founded the #MeToo movement in 2006 to support, and provide resources and empowerment to sexual assault survivors and vulnerable members of the community. Though "mainstream" messengers have been lauded for running with the torch Tarana Burke lit, she is a veteran in the fight for increased protection, compassion, representation, and attention for Black women and girls and other undervalued populations. Before hashtags commodified her life's work, Tarana championed the "health, well-being, and wholeness of Brown girls everywhere," working to instill a healthy sense of self-worth in young women via her organization, Just Be Inc.

Tarana has been a fierce advocate, using her voice and platform to advance legislation to improve the lives of assault survivors and cultivating a network of "survivors supporting survivors." She suggests centering survivors and their needs and encouraging folks to be active in their communities against sexual violence, exploring the causes of these traumas, and dismantling the shame around both discussing the silence and the culture that fosters, ignores, and perpetuates sexual violence.

Tarana recently made headlines as the #MeToo movement (and a rack of activist plus-ones) hit the read carpet at the Emmy Awards. On the importance of using one's position as an agent of change, she told The Guardian:

“Inherently, having privilege isn’t bad,” she says, “but it’s how you use it, and you have to use it in service of other people.” For what feels like the first time, the privilege she is referring to is her own, and it is the privilege of an extremely large audience. “Now that I have it, I’m trying to use it responsibly,” she says. “But if it hadn’t come along I would be right here, with my fucking Me Too shirt on, doing workshops and going to rape crisis centres.”

Here she is on The Rundown with Robin Thede with the facts about this unfolding #MeToo movement.

And here she is talking to MTV about increasing awareness of sexual abuse and the growth and effects of this #MeToo campaign.

To learn more about Tarana's work, visit Just Be Inc. or connect with her on Twitter.


April is Stress Awareness Month and we want to hear your best ways of dealing with stressors, any precautionary tales of how they can affect the body, what your self-care looks like, and/or anything else related to acknowledging that stress is real and necessary to manage.

April is ALSO Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In light of recent events with sexual assault in the entertainment workplace being brought to the forefront and fully addressed, we want to address this issue taking place everywhere. We’re accepting personal narrative, essays, poetry, prose, and any other form of writing that gets your point across about sexual assault. Because of the nature of the topic, we are willing to publish Anonymous pieces. We are accepting submissions and pitches from EVERYONE. We mention this because men and non-binary people have just as poignant voices and stories to tell about their own experiences but sometimes shy away from sharing due to toxic perceptions that hand out shame versus compassion. Our platform is a safe space for everyone so feel free to submit/pitch.

Please send all pitches/submissions to submissions@theextraordinarynegroes.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!