Social justice advocate and founder of the “Me Too” movement Tarana Burke will speak at Gustavus Adolphus College on Monday, May 6, as the 2019 Campus Activities Board (CAB) Big Speaker. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. in Christ Chapel.
Burke is credited with starting the “me too” movement in 2006 as a rallying cry for those who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment. #MeToo exploded across social media and sparked a worldwide conversation in 2017 following allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, with “The Silence Breakers” who blew the whistle on widespread sexual harassment being named the Time Magazine Person of the Year.
“It is absolutely incredible that Tarana Burke started this huge movement that has raised awareness and support throughout the world,” senior English and communication studies major and CAB member Emily Scroggins said. “She is a perfect example of how one individual can do something to create change and I hope that Tarana’s story will inspire others to go out and fight for what they’re passionate about.”
Originally set for February 20, Burke’s Gustavus lecture was rescheduled after she was selected as a VH1 Trailblazer honoree alongside Margaret Atwood, Nancy Pelosi, and Ava DuVernay for her significant contributions in the field of minority empowerment and civil activism. Burke has also won the Ridenhour Prize for Courage and was named the most influential African American on The Root’s top 100 list.
“I hope that this event will spark a sustained dialogue on campus not only about sexual assault and domestic abuse but also about ways that we can support survivors,” Scroggins added.
Burke is the senior director of programs at Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity. According to her speakers agency biography, “On stage, she provides words of empowerment that lift up marginalized voices, enables survivors across all races, genders, or classes to know that they are not alone, and creates a place for comfort and healing to those who have experienced trauma.”
The Gustavus Campus Activities Board is a student leadership group that enriches the educational, cultural, social, and recreational needs of the Gustavus community by providing interesting, exciting, and diverse experiences that educate and entertain the student body and broader Gustavus community. CAB typically brings in a Big Speaker in alternating years with the group’s Big Concert. Previous Big Speakers have included The Onion’s Scott Dikkers and Catch Me If You Can’s Frank Abagnale.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin