#MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Has Started a New Hashtag
Two years after #MeToo went viral, Burke is starting a movement to mobilize voters.
Two years after #MeToo first went viral, the hashtag's founder, Tarana Burke, has started a whole new hashtag movement — this time, geared towards mobilizing voters.
As the U.S. heads into the 2020 elections, Burke has started the hashtag #MeTooVoter to reflect the frustration activists have felt over issues of sexual violence and harassment largely being left out of the conversation in debates and campaign trails thus far.
"You can’t have 12 million people respond to a hashtag in this country and they not be constituents, taxpayers, and voters," she told the Associated Press. "We need these candidates to see us as a power base. So many people engage with survivors from a place of pity."
"Candidates have a responsibility to address the rampant sexual violence that permeates all of society’s systems and structures, including government," Burke wrote in an essay for Time.
The hashtag was launched on the same day as Tuesday's fourth Democratic presidential debate. Burke, a leading voice in the movement to fight sexual violence, told AP that none of the 2020 hopefuls has spoken to her as they have shaped their presidential platforms — which she said points to a lack of urgency around issues pertaining to sexual violence.
During a Nevada event sponsored by the women’s activist group Supermajority, Senator Kamala Harris was asked about her plan for addressing gender-based violence.
“Well, one of the best ways that we can avoid it and prevent it is to make sure women have economic opportunities so that they’re not reliant on an abusive relationship to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table. All of these issues are connected,” she said. “You know, when people would say to me, ‘Kamala, talk to us about women's issues’ — cause me being the first woman elected for these positions — and I'd say, ‘You know what? I am so glad you want to talk about the economy.’”