On September 19, Cabrini University hosted the annual Ivy Young Willis & Martha Willis Dale Award Ceremony. This year, awarding Tarana J Burke: Founder of the #MeToo Movement.
Burke spoke to the campus community, explaining that before "Me Too" was a movement, it started as an initiative to help young black girls in low-income communities. Gradually the idea extended to other platforms and communities and eventually, across the world. Therefore, uniting various survivors to stand in solidarity against sexual violence and assault. Soon, many found themselves reciting the famous phrase, “Me Too.”
Thus, a movement began and the conversation expanded.
As I sat among the sea of people, an unsettling realization crept onto me: at least half of the people in the room have probably experienced sexual assault or violence. Voiced or kept silent, the numbers were there. Many have questioned what the “Me Too” Movement has done for society or what good could it possibly do? Tarana Burke has built the stage and provided a mic for those whose voices fail to be heard.
Overall, the award ceremony was remarkable. For 105 minutes, I remained at the edge of my seat. Tarana Burke is one of the few who epitomize leadership with steadfast bravery towards her following.
During that 1hr 45min, Tarana Burke taught me to speak my truth unapologetically and lead with love. Quoting Cornel West, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people” was surprisingly thought-provoking being that leaders we glorify unknowingly or knowingly exemplify this quote (e.g. MLK, Jesus Christ, Nelson Mandela, Leymah Gbowee, Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, etc).
What do we do now? In the words of Tarana Burke, “Me Too is a movement, not a moment.”
Cabrini University Resources for Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, and Gender-Based Relationship Misconduct.
Sexual Harassment or Violence by an Employee
Denise Johnston, Title IX Coordinator
Room 160, Grace Hall
Sexual Violence or Harassment by a Student
Dr. Stephen Rupprecht, Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Room 150, Grace Hall
For more information on Cabrini’s Policies regarding this topic see our policy.