How #MeToo Creator Tarana Burke Says the Survivors' Agenda Is "Turning Pain Into Power"

Image Source: Getty / Boston Globe

When Tarana Burke created the #MeToo movement, it brought awareness to and online discussion about sexual violence. Now, the Survivors’ Agenda — a digital platform created by Burke and fellow advocates Fatima Goss Graves, Mónica Ramírez, and Ai-jen Poo — is turning those discussions into action. The Agenda provides a community guide to end sexual and gender-based violence in our society. During a three-day virtual event this weekend with the Survivors Summit, these leaders will offer an opportunity to discuss political strategy, offer communal healing, and provide a safe space for survivors.

This summit comes on the heels of agony this year — most recently being the great political and cultural loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As we mourn this pioneer of female autonomy, I spoke to Burke and Ramírez as they described the summit’s purpose to put survivors’ words into political action, advocate for the intersectionality found in sexual violence, and reframe what it means to be a survivor. Of the decision to shift the online conversation into a tangible space, Burke told me: “I do think, after the uproar of the viral hashtag and people not knowing where to put that energy next, that this is something that this summit provides — an amazing vehicle for folks to do that. You know, it provides a space and platform that we created, that survivors created, that allows folks to do that. And there’s not very many spaces like that that exist.”

Image Source: Survivors’ Agenda

Created as a roadmap by survivors, the Survivors’ Agenda was created specifically for politicians and institutions to reference and hold them accountable when establishing legislations that influence sexual and gender-based violence in our country. The agenda focuses on different categories including education, healthcare, housing, and workers’ rights. The full agenda is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Vietnamese, and French. This document is a reminder that sexual violence is not a partisan issue, despite how it’s being portrayed in our politics. It affects women, children, and people of all genders and of any political preference, and only through this awareness can our policies ignite real change.

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