Tarana Burke: A Powerhouse Voice Comes to Grand Rapids

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Founder of the Me Too movement and social justice activist, Tarana Burke will make a visit to Grand Rapids in November to share her powerful testimony as keynote speaker at Inforum's West Michigan Capstone event.

Find out how to get tickets and why it's critical to hear her message.

In a time where women are still (unbelievably) told to "be quiet" and to keep their concerns and opinions to themselves, Tarana Burke's courageous Me Too rally cry has steadily made groundwork toward progress for women for over 20 years—with no intention of slowing down.

Initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault, Burke's campaign was catapulted into the spotlight in 2017 after going in viral in the wake of disgraced Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein's sexual abuse allegations and consequential criminal charges. The Me Too movement has gone on to inspire solidarity, amplify the voices of thousands of victims of sexual abuse and put the focus back on survivors.

Being a survivor of sexual assault herself, Burke offers a message providing words of empowerment that lift up marginalized voices—enabling survivors across all races, genders and classes to know that they are not alone, while creating a place for comfort and healing for those who have experienced trauma.

Those in West Michigan have a chance to hear Burke speak firsthand at Inforum's West Michigan Capstone event on November 29, 2018, at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids. It's an opportunity Terry Barclay, Inforum president and CEO, says can be used to learn how to be better allies and create change right in our own community.

"I think Tarana will have some very interesting things to share about what Me Too is really about—as it's gone viral, its meaning has changed a bit and she'll be able to remind people about what the initial intent is," said Barclay, who stresses that changing the narrative and enacting change is possible by growing our awareness and standing up to confront problems in our society head-on.

"This is a really important moment—not just for survivors, but also for the allies who want to help shift the culture around how women are treated and do everything they can to affirmatively assist the effort and not stand idly by.

"Listen and respect the bravery and ability of those coming forward and their stories. They can be difficult to hear, but it's imperative we listen in a time where many survivors are finding their voice. Through this, we can build an understanding and move forward."

Also important, Barclay notes, is allyship from the men in our community.

"I'm hearing more and more inspiring instances of male leaders in West Michigan who aren't shying away from this; who are reinforcing the idea that we must continue the impactful work already in motion to help women heal, lead, succeed and be powerful."

Consistently educating ourselves and utilizing available resources is crucial. Tickets for the event are available on Inforum's website. Don't wait—this is an event that is sure to sell out.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.


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