Tarana Burke (253336)
Credit: Twitter photo

The Black Women’s Roundtable salutes and congratulates its colleague and partner, Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too” movement, and others who were recognized by Time magazine as the “Silence Breakers” and collectively are the Time magazine Person of the Year 2017.

Burke is the founder of Just Be, Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual harassment and assault. She created the “Me Too” campaign 10 years ago. Burke was inspired to start the “Me Too” campaign in 1997, when she had a conversation with a 13-year-old girl who was a part of a mentoring program focused on girls of color, who shared she was being abused by her mother’s boyfriend. Burke felt she did not have a response or way to help the little girl in that moment and it bothered her for years and inspired her to start the “Me Too” Campaign. The movement went viral this year when actress Alyssa Milano used the hashtag #MeToo. In the week after #MeToo first surfaced, versions of it swept through 85 countries, from India, where the struggle against harassment and assault had already become a national debate, to the Middle East, Asia and countries in between.

Melanie Campbell, convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, said, “I believe it is vitally important to lift up Tarana Burke for her vision, steadfast leadership and commitment in fighting for over a decade to ensure women and girls of color, who are victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, have their voices and stories told and recognized. Too often, our stories are not shared, and we thank Time magazine for recognizing Black women and all women who have been victims, especially in this transformational moment in our nation’s history. For Black women, this has not been some sort of new phenomenon that just started with Harvey Weinstein. It’s been taking place since they brought our ancestors to this country on slave ships centuries ago.”

Campbell added, “BWR also congratulates Adama Iwu, Veronica Owusu, Crystal Washington, Dana Lewis and all the other women who were recognized by Time magazine for their admirable courage.”

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation is one of the most active civil rights and social justice organizations in the nation “dedicated to increasing civic engagement, economic and voter empowerment in Black America.” The Black Women’s Roundtable is the women and girls’ empowerment arm of the NCBCP. At the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women, BWR promotes their health and wellness, economic security and prosperity, education and global empowerment as key elements for success.