Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement and a social justice activist dedicated to giving strength to those who experienced sexual trauma, will deliver Lehigh’s 42nd Annual Tresolini Lecture.
This year’s event will be held at 7 p.m., Sept. 20 in Baker Hall at Zoellner Arts Center. It is free to the public and will be a moderated discussion with Vera Fennell, associate professor of political science at Lehigh. A question and answer session with the audience will follow.
Burke was among those recognized as “TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers,” a special edition of TIME Magazine representing people who came forward to report sexual misconduct. She was also named as one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People of 2018.”
Years before #MeToo became viral, Burke founded JUSTBe Inc., a nonprofit youth organization focused on the health, well-being and wholeness of young women of color.
She first used the phrase in 2006. “In those early years, we developed our vision to bring resources, support and pathways to healing where none existed before,” says the me too. website. A sexual assault survivor herself, Burke is now executive director of the me too. organization. She is also senior director of programs at the Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity.
As a youth worker, dealing predominantly with Black children and children of color, Burke had seen and heard her share of heartbreaking stories. One story in particular resonated with her. After an all-girls bonding session at youth camp, one of the girls later privately shared with Burke that she had been sexually abused by a family member, according to the website. Burke said she referred the girl to another female counselor, but later felt bad about the decision.