Tarana Burke told her audience at NC Central University’s H.M. Michaux School of Education Auditorium that her appearance there exemplified the “me too” movement she founded.
“I love HBCUs, and I care about what happens on these campuses,” Burke explained. “What good is a moment like this in my life, with this level of visibility and this level of access, if I can’t use that to the benefit of my community?”
Her “Fireside Chat and Campus Community Conversation” at NCCU on April 18 was her fourth stop on the “me too” HBCU Tour. This one featured Dan T. Blue Endowed Chair and Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Yaba Blay; plus, former NFL player and activist Wade Davis and reality TV personality Jessie Woo.
“When we talk out accountability, a lot of the time there is none,” Woo said. “You still have to seek your version of justice.”
Earlier that day, Davis hosted the men-only workshop “Masculinity and me too.” The workshop initiated a conversation pertaining to men’s role within the ‘me too’ movement and how sexual assault and violence affects men.
“The first role of men in the movement is being survivors,” Davis said. “This movement is not here to attack men, but it is here to support us and save us.”
Burke described how the ‘me too’ HBCU tour is a “manifestation” of her vision for the movement as a whole.
“We wanted to bring this conversation that’s happening every day on [predominantly white institutions] right to the yard,” Burke said. “We wanted to make sure that we can have real, open, and honest conversations about what’s really happening.”
Blay, the founder of the social media community Professional Black Girl and moderator of the Fireside Chat, said NCCU must be “willing” to talk about issues pertaining to sexual violence on campus.
“There is a particular conversation that we must be willing to have on our campuses,” Blay said. “We must love us enough to want better for us.”
The ‘me too’ movement was created by Burke to bring healing to individuals who have been affected by sexual violence and assault. Burke and her supporters have initiated programs and workshops to help the survivors of these assaults and other community members to bring awareness to this issue and the effects of it. The ‘me too’ HBCU Tour is a one of those initiatives.
“I hope that we’ve done some impressive narrative changing work so that the culture begins to shift,” Burke concluded in her remarks. “Our work in the ‘me too’ movement is ultimately about healing in action,”