#MeToo movement founder, Tarana Burke, made news as she rang in the new year on stage in Times Square. Burke had the honor of pushing the button for the ball drop, which she stated was a "fitting way to honor the Me Too movement as we close a historic year and set our intentions for 2018."
In her statement, Burke wrote, "...Tonight's monumental occasion is underscored for me by the presence of two guests: Jenny Lumet, who published a powerful piece in the Hollywood Reporter detailing her experience with Russell Simmons and Jerhonda Pace who broke her non-disclosure agreement to expose the depravity that she experienced at the hands of Robert 'R' Kelly. In the year when 'Silence Breakers' were celebrated for their bravery and vulnerability, these two women were outstanding examples of both. Both of them stood up and said 'me, too' in ways that resonated deeply in communities of color, representing women all too often drowned out by the din of privileged voices."
The importance of Lumet and Pace joining Burke on stage is momentous for the #MeToo movement and for highlighting the significance of uplifting marginalized communities. Women of color have been erased from the larger conversation of sexual misconduct, though recognizing Burke and her work with #MeToo is a push in the right direction.
In the New Year, as we commit to doing our part in dismantling injustice such as sexual misconduct, we must do the difficult work of recentering marginalized communities and their importance. Burke, Lumet, and Pace are three women who have done incredible work for dismantling sexual misconduct, but there are still many who are pushed aside and forgotten from the larger movement. We must change that.
There's no better way to bring in the new year than by highlighting the work that women of color, like Burke, have done.
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