It’s been nearly four years since Me Too became a global movement, forever changing how we talk about sexual violence. But it’s been approximately 15 years since Tarana Burke found the phrase she needed to inspire empathy and empowerment among survivors of sexual violence, understanding that a simple “Me Too” could be a powerful unifier in the face of an experience that can prove to feel so isolating.
As Burke told us during our inaugural The Root Institute in 2020, despite the eventual mainstream adoption of Me Too, her movement was founded for young Black girls and women, like the many she grew up with in the Bronx, N.Y., and later encountered while working as an activist in Selma, Ala. With a simple phrase to express the inexpressible pain of sexual assault and abuse, a conversation could be opened; a premise that proved true in 2017 when, amid the dozens of accusations against Harvey Weinstein, legions of women across the world found solidarity in the hashtag #MeToo.
But Me Too has always been more than a hashtag, and its leader far more than a spokesperson. Tarana Burke is a survivor, a journey she chronicles from her own assault at 7 years old to the profound crisis of faith that ultimately led to leadership of a global movement in her first memoir, Unbound, released on September 14 by Flatiron Books under Oprah Winfrey’s imprint.
As Burke shares with us in her second appearance in The Root Institute, excavating her own path was cathartic; but like all of her work, it is also intended to provide a path for others seeking a way a through unspeakable pain. Like Oprah, we consider Unbound a necessary read, whether you consider yourself a survivor or not. Hear more from the incredible Tarana Burke in The Root Institute.
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