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Celebrating Women – Tarana Burke
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Posted 22 March 2021

Tarana Burke has been hard at work for the past 3 decades working against racial injustice, violence and gender inequity.

Ms. Burke was a victim of sexual violence as a child and teenager. She states that these experiences inspired her to work to improve the lives of girls who undergo extreme hardships. Her professional journey began in the late 1980’s when she joined a youth leadership organization called 21st Century Leadership (21CL), where she “led and participated in initiatives around issues like police brutality, housing inequality, and economic injustice.” Through her years of work with 21CL, Ms. Burke began to work with other victims and survivors of sexual violence, abuse and exploitation, finding that “too many girls were trying their best to survive without access to resources, safe spaces and support.” As a result, she founded Just Be Inc., an organization committed to the empowerment and wellness of Black women and girls. The “me too” movement was started in 2006, bringing resources and support to women who were victims of unwelcome sexual behaviour. In 2017, the #metoo hashtag went viral, leading to a world-wide movement of women being able to acknowledge their experiences, and the magnitude of the issue coming to the forefront.

As the movement unfolded, Ms. Burke “emerged as a global leader in the evolving conversation around sexual violence.” Her theory of using empathy to empower survivors is impacting the way “the world think[s] about and engage[s] with survivors. Her belief that healing isn’t a destination but a journey has touched and inspired millions of survivors who previously lived with the pain, shame and trauma of their assaults in isolation.”

Ms. Burke has been acknowledged publicly for her efforts, being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2017, among other recognitions as well. Thank-you Tarana Burke for all your efforts to empower, advocate for and support women in efforts to end sexual violence.

Take your #firststepfirstchange towards ending gender-based violence at Become a Steel City Ally