Press release from Our VOICE:
Our VOICE, Buncombe County’s rape crisis and prevention center, will welcome Me Too Movement founder Tarana Burke on Thursday, March 14, 2019, for the Symmetry Financial, AdventHealth and Native Kitchen Break the Silence Speaker Series, Our VOICE’s largest fundraising event of the year. Burke’s movement, which was founded more than 10 years ago, has inspired survivors of sexual violence from all over the world to find pathways to healing.
Burke, who was named a 2017 TIME Magazine Person of the Year for her role in breaking the silence around sexual violence, will speak at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel starting at 6 p.m.
“We need to start having honest conversations about sexual assault and sexual violence in our communities, in our workplace, and as a country as a whole,” says Tarana Burke. “Me Too supports survivors – absolutely – it tells them that they are not alone, and that healing is possible – but it also demands that we talk about it. I’m thrilled to be traveling to Asheville to continue this conversation.”
“I had the great fortune of meeting Tarana Burke at a national convention last year and I can attest to the power of her presence as a leader, activist and speaker,” says Angelica Wind, Executive Director of Our VOICE. “Her message is inspirational: That together we are creating a movement – because it’s not just a moment – and that this movement is actively shaping and changing our cultural norms now and for future generations to come.”
The Break the Silence Speaker Series is a fundraiser for Our VOICE and supports programs such as free counseling services for survivors, prevention education for every middle- and high-school student in Buncombe County, hospital accompaniment during forensic examination kits, and training for crisis response volunteers to answer the 24-hour crisis hotline. Our VOICE is seeking sponsorship partners for the event, which is expected to sell out as last year’s speaker event featuring survivor Elizabeth Smart did. For more information about sponsorship opportunities and ticket sales, please go to ourvoicenc.org/events/speakerseries.
Burke first used the phrase Me Too in 2006 while working with young black women and girls from low-wealth communities for whom she developed a culturally informed curriculum to discuss sexual violence. The #metoo social media hashtag campaign has generated more than 13 million Facebook posts and tweets, emerging as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment.
In addition to her 2017 TIME Magazine honor, Burke was also named to the 2018 TIME 100 Most Influential People list. Burke works under the banner of the movement, which is housed at the Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity organization, where she serves as senior director.