Founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, spoke at the Wharton Center last night as part of the Transformative Justice Speaker Series. WKAR’s Katie Cook reports.
A steady flow of people moved through the lobby of the Wharton Center Thursday to hear Tarana Burke’s message about the origins of the #MeToo movement and the pervasiveness of sexual violence in American culture.
“It’s a really important time that she’s here at MSU,” said MSU student Liz Selbee. “Maybe I’ll learn ways in which I can become a better activist in my community.”
Natalie Elliott said she was attending the talk because she thinks this community should continue to have these difficult discussions about sexual assault.
“It’s very important to keep this movement going, and especially after the events that followed here at MSU.”
Attendee Jeff Wray said he was there because the movement Burke started impacted him and his family. “This has changed a lot in terms of how I think and I’m talking to my boys and talking to my daughter and thinking about these things so this is a great moment, so I’m here, I want to be a part of this moment.”
Tarana Burke’s invitation to MSU came before the Larry Nassar case was a national story. But with the school still dealing with the fallout of such a scandal, she received several questions, in a press conference ahead of her talk, about how MSU can move forward.
“The school would have to start by listening, really listening, right? Not paying lip service to it, not just having a town hall meeting and letting people get up and rant and rave or whatever, but take some real measures of accountability. What does it look like when you allow students come into the process?”
Burke also said she wants to leave people with an understanding that the movement is not about targeting anyone in a so-called “witch hunt,” but is about the survivors who collectively spoke out and need healing.