Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, captured the room on campus Tuesday, April 30.
Burke held the room with a sense of humor and vulnerability. Besides the humorous jokes told, Burke was able to show humility and dive into the root of why she was speaking.
Before the event, I asked myself how my perspective and experiences might change how I perceive her talk or how my peers might react to her story. I wondered how Burke’s words would be received by the victim who is still silent.
Here are a few quotes that best described the experience for me:
“You started something by listening,” Burke said about the beginning of the movement.
I believe this is the epitome of the movement. I’m sure we’ve all heard it before, but we must be present for our friends. We need to be there whether it’s a moment of sadness or happiness. Burke said the words “me too” came from her inability to say them.
The challenge for myself is to continue to be a welcoming face to all of those who are struggling. By allowing us to share even just a little bit of kindness, we could be contributing to a person’s healing.
Listening is everything. If someone asks you to listen, you do it. There are no questions asked.
“There’s no prescription for healing.”
Regardless of what criticism or helping hand a person gives you, your healing is your healing. If you happen to be a survivor of sexual violence, know that your experiences are valid and real.
Your hurt cannot be felt by anyone but yourself. Validation is described as the process of proving validity of the accuracy of something. As Burke said, you might never find validation from the media or other people. However, I hope you are able to find validation and healing in yourself, whether that’s through meditation, music or time. The feeling may never leave, but your validation as a human being remains.
“They didn’t have words – but they hurt.”
“Don’t be distracted by the noise.”
Tarana Burke mentioned the news media multiple times in her talk. As a journalism major, it made me question what my purpose is. How can I be an ally to those who are in pain? How can I use my position to bring light to someone in the shadows? A few examples Burke gave was writing about issues within the LGBT community or writing about people of color.
I think we, as journalists, can go farther. We must present all of the facts. That’s part of being a journalist. However, I believe that if something is considered inherently wrong, it should be called out. This is not a problem generally, but a moral conscious is necessary. When an event is hyped, I believe it is our duty to think and go beyond the story to seek out the people a movement is affecting – and not just the people we are comfortable talking to.
“We have not seen a culture shift. Look at the numbers.”
As a culture, we have a lot of progress to do as a society.
However, we deserve safety on our campus and in our communities.
We need to express that our lived experiences are all valuable. We cannot shoot people’s experiences down just because their experiences are not our own. They are not wrong in their healing.
You are worthy. Just be and continue to carry on.