Through all of the controversy regarding Harvey Weinstein, women have decided to share their stories with the hashtag MeToo. This recently became an online movement after Alyssa Milano tweeted it and soon after women began sharing their experiences. Though this was a great gesture, it is important that we recognize the real creator of this movement. The woman behind this hashtag is activist Tarana Burke.

Who is Tarana Burke?

Tarana Burke began the MeToo campaign in 1997 after coming across a 13-year-old girl who had been sexually assaulted. "I didn't have a response or a way to help her in that moment, and I couldn't even say 'me too,'" Burke stated.

This moment stayed with her for a long time and through that, she was able to create a phrase to let young women know they were not alone. Just ten years later, she started a nonprofit organization named Just Be Inc. This organization was created to focus on the well-being of Women Of Color. The phrase MeToo took on a stronger meaning as Burke was able to finally support these young women the way she wanted to ten years before.

This phrase has resurfaced after multiple Weinstein allegations have come to light and now and it is bringing back old recollections. In just 24 hours there were thousands of tweets from women using the hashtag to express the abuse they had received. This was a bittersweet feeling for Burke because she had not been giving the proper credit for this phrase she had put so much work into.

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Many women of color on Twitter made it a point to recognize that it was Tarana Burke who had started this movement. Black women are always getting left out of the conversation and unrecognized for their achievements. That was not going to happen with Tarana Burke. Alyssa Milano then reached out to Burke two days later and there is supposed to be a collaboration in the works.

Going beyond the hashtag

With this hashtag, women have been able to share their experiences without feeling alone. The next question now is, what are the next steps? Often people put a lot of effort in making a situation know, but there is not a resolution or plan to fix the issue. Tarana Burke's next move is to create a national platform where the conversation of sexual violence can continue. She would also like for accountability to be taken. The perpetrator and the bystander need to stand up and take accountability for their actions. Whether it is doing the act or watching it happen, people need to speak up.