Alyssa Milano didn’t come up with #MeToo, a woman of color did

Me. Too. Two words that have made a giant impact online for the last few days. Women across the globe are posting this phrase on social media to share that they, too, have been sexually harassed or assaulted.

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Many people believe it is Alyssa Milano who started this movement, and although she has made it gain traction, she was not the one who started it. Activist Tarana Burke actually started the movement 10 years ago, according to Britni Danielle of Ebony Magazine. Here’s video of Tarana speaking about the movement.

Tarana first created this movement as a youth worker for children of color in underprivileged communities, she says on her website, Just Be Inc. Hearing tragic stories from young children about their  broken homes, abuse, and neglect broke Tarana’s heart. Especially from this girl named Heaven, whose story horrified Tarana due to the fact that she too went through the same situation.

The Me Too movement “wasn’t built to be a viral campaign or a hashtag that is here today and forgotten tomorrow,” Tarana told Ebony. “It was a catchphrase to be used from survivor to survivor to let folks know that they were not alone and that a movement for radical healing was happening and possible.”

The fact that movement is gaining recognition is amazing, but Tarana deserves recognition as its creator.

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It is not uncommon for a celebrity to attach themselves to a cause they believe in. But when Alyssa Milano tweeted about #MeToo, people automatically assumed she came up with the idea. Tarana Burke was left in the shadows. People corrected Alyssa by telling her the original founder of the movement, which led to her tweeting about Tarana’s story.

If you or anyone you know has been sexually harassed or assaulted, or just want to be a supporter for the survivors, #MeToo has a website coming soon. For now, you can join their email list for more info on support and how you can be an ally in this fight for justice for all sexual assault and harassment survivors. You can also follow Tarana Burke on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

If you are too afraid to come out and put your story on the internet, you are not alone. You have the right to not share your story or explain what happened with the world. Just know that there are allies, support groups, and survivors out there who are ready to send love and support your way once you are ready.


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