Despite the takeover by #MeToo of social media, and subsequently popular culture, these past two years, its recognition was over ten years in the making. Civil rights activist Tarana Burke first coined the term in 2006 on MySpace as a way to connect sexual assault survivors to the appropriate resources, according to the New York Times, but it was belatedly amplified in October 2017 following the accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein and Alyssa Milano's call to action on Twitter.
While Burke's ownership of the movement wasn't properly made clear when it went mainstream, she was subsequently given her due when she was named a Time Person Of The Year in 2017 and accompanied Michelle Williams to the 75th Annual Golden Globes. Previously, Burke was Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity and has worked her whole life in nonprofits and activism, but #MeToo's recent significance has catapulted her to even more prominence.
At the beginning of this year, Burke released a series of sexual assault PSAs at the Sundance Film Festival.
"This is something we want people to sit with," she told Refinery29 in an exclusive interview, adding, "It was important for us to have an opening or premiere for [the PSAs] that was commensurate with how important we think they are for the conversation, how important we think they are in pop culture, and how important they are for shifting the narrative."
According to its website, Burke is no longer at Girls for Gender Equity. Instead, she travels to colleges and other speaking events to give talks about her experience fighting inequality. Most recently, Burke spoke at The College of New Jersey, Auburn University, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.