Me Too founder to speak on campus in December

Abe Asher

The founder of the Me Too movement is coming to Macalester.

The Lectures Coordination Board (LCB) is bringing Tarana Burke, a native of The Bronx, to campus for a lecture and discussion in the Alexander G. Hill Ballroom in Kagin Commons on Dec. 6.

Burke first used the phrase “Me Too” to highlight the shared experiences of sexual harassment and assault survivors, particularly survivors of color, in 2006. The expression became ubiquitous on social media last year in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein assault scandal and became a rallying cry.

Time Magazine named Burke and other figureheads of the Me Too movement as its 2017 Person of the Year.

Burke is a longtime social activist in both New York and Alabama. She founded a nonprofit dedicated to the wellbeing of young women of color in 2006 and currently serves as a senior director for the organization Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn.

She will be recognized with the Ridenhour Prize for Courage, presented jointly by The Nation Institute and The Fertel Foundation, in November. The prize is named for Vietnam veteran Ron Ridenhour, who exposed the My Lai massacre in 1969.

“The job of the LCB is to bring in speakers who the whole community can engage with,” LCB representative Liv Gigliotti ’21 said. “As the founder of the Me Too movement, Tarana Burke is an activist who works for women as a whole as well as marginalized communities. Those are pretty important things here at Macalester.” Burke’s speaking fee is $25,000, which is the same amount that the LCB paid to secure the appearance of civil and human rights activist Angela Davis last fall. Tickets for her speech will be available to students starting on Nov. 15 and to staff and faculty starting on Dec. 3.