ActivismRaceSex & Gender

tarana burke was omitted from the time magazine cover, so let’s celebrate the sh*t out of her today!

December 7, 2017
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A Black woman creates something, and white people credit themselves for it, after ignoring it for as long as possible. Where have we heard this before?

The latest unsurprising example of appropriating Black labor is in the case of TIME Magazine, which recently chose “The Silence Breakers” of the #MeToo movement as their 2017 person of the year.

As you are probably well aware, the #MeToo movement took over national consciousness when it went viral amidst dozens of women coming forward accusing media mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and other violence. Since then, accusations against at least 74 public figures have come to light, leading to the firing of Weinstein and others, including House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey.

As with most good things, a Black woman named Tarana Burke was the original creator of the #MeToo awareness movement, but you would never know that from whom TIME chose to put on its cover instead.

Instead, among whom it deemed to be the “voices that launched a movement,” the magazine only included actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, corporate lobbyist Adama Iwu, worker Isabel Pascual and former Uber engineer Susan Fowler. Though Burke was included within the magazine’s story, her omission from the cover had some people in an uproar:

But we ain’t mad. We expect this from white supremacy, and are past trying to put some lipstick on that pig by begging them to pretend like they like us.

Instead, we will celebrate Burke ourselves.

Two months ago, the 44-year-old activist told Ebony she began Me Too in 2006 as a grassroots movement to aid sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities “where rape crisis centers and sexual assault workers weren’t going.”

“It wasn’t built to be a viral campaign or a hashtag that is here today and forgotten tomorrow,” she explained. “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.”

Based on the motto “empowerment through empathy,” Burke’s vision for the movement was ultimately to ensure survivors on the margins know they’re not alone in their journey.

“What’s happening now is powerful and I salute it and the women who have disclosed but the power of using ‘me too’ has always been in the fact that it can be a conversation starter or the whole conversation – but it was us talking to us,” Burke told Ebony.

Whether white-ran magazines recognize her or not, Burke’s work speaks volumes, and we salute her. Here’s to working to ensure our support is enough, because, oftentimes, that’s all we have.

You can learn more about Burke’s #MeToo movement here!