Tarana Burke reminds us #MeToo movement is more than just a trendy catchphrase

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Tarana Burke is calling out the movement she started a decade before movie producer Harvey Weinstein was exposed for countless allegations of sexual misconduct.

According to the Detroit Free Press, last week the activist gave the keynote at the Facing Race conference in front of the 3,500 people who flocked to Motor City in the name of championing social justice. During her address she pointed out how her brainchild, which was essentially co-opted by the likes of actress Alyssa Milano needed to return to its roots and start paying attention to the original survivors it was meant to serve.

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“The No. 1 thing I hear from folks is that the #MeToo movement has forgotten us,” she said of the women of color she has come in contact with over the last few years. A fact which is both painful and deeply ironic given that the young Black and brown girls in urban and indigenous communities where she has worked since she was 14, are exactly who originally inspired #MeToo’s incarnation.

“Every day, we hear some version of that,” she continues, referencing the complaints about erasure. “But this is what I’m here to tell you: The #MeToo movement is not defined by what the media has told you. We are the movement, and so I need you to not opt out of the #Metoo movement. … I need you to reframe your work to include sexual violence That’s how we take back the narrative. Stop giving your power away to white folks.”

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Burke has now made it her mission to take #MeToo back from the Hollywood elite.

“You know how many people say, ‘The #MeToo movement — well Hollywood’s got it.’ F–k Hollywood. Every time somebody asks me how I feel about them taking my movement, I say, ‘You can’t take s–t that’s mine. This is not about Tarana Burke owning something. This is about a community that I have lived in, worked in, given my blood sweat and tears to. This is our movement. Stop opting out of it.”

She also warns that #MeToo needs to be seen as a call to action, and not just a trendy catchphrase.

“This is not about awareness. It’s about  action,” the 45-year-old activist explained to the attendees at Detroit’s convention center. “…With #Metoo being as big and loud as it is, we don’t need more awareness, This is about  what happens after the hashtag, after the hoopla This is about the work.”

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