Note: This episode mentions sexual assault, which could be triggering to some listeners.
Tarana Burke coined the phrase “me too” to help young Black girls in Selma, Alabam talk about sexual assault over a decade ago. But when #MeToo went viral overnight in 2017, Tarana had to figure out how to share her life’s work and its resources with a broader audience. Today, Tarana’s facing new challenges: how to offer sexual assault survivors the resources they need over the internet, and learning to balance her own needs alongside her work.
Tarana: I don't create distance. I think that's a myth that you can create [distance]. I often quote Joanne Smith, who is the founder of Girls for Gender Equity, who says we come to the work because we are the work. There is no distance between who I am, what happened to me, and what I do.
Tarana: Every opportunity I get, I go somewhere to work from a different place. I will work for two hours and sleep for three if I can. I put rest in my calendar. This is a 2021 practice. I am overindulging. And I'm not apologizing for it. That is how I am treating myself nowadays because I have worked so hard. I've worked so hard in my life. I remember days in my twenties and thirties where I was so tired, I fell asleep standing up.
Tarana: We equate each of our worthiness with our productivity — you're only worth as much as you can produce. But you are still worthy. If I watch a person pull out from the workspace to prioritize their health, what you are now, what you've now become is an example for what wholeness and healthiness and healing looks like.
Skimm'd by Alex Carr, Ciara Long, and Peter Bonaventure.
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"I don't lose anything by being honest and being open. I gained community and I literally regained my soul."
"When I think about my relationship to the academy, part of the struggle was I don't want to talk in academic prose…. Because who's gonna see it? And who's it gonna benefit?"
"Whenever you’re nervous about meeting someone, just envision them sitting on the toilet. We all sit on the toilet. And it brings us to a certain level of humanity where we’re all alike."