#MeToo movement founder to headline conference at Cobo

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, will deliver a keynote address at a national conference in Detroit that will address alliance building, issue-framing and advancing solutions around race.

Burke will be the first of two keynote speakers at Facing Race 2018, to be held Nov. 8-10 at Cobo Center.

An African-American civil rights activist and sexual assault survivor, Burke first used the phrase “Me Too” in 2006 as a way of bringing awareness to sexual violence, particularly against young women of color. The phrase has since gone viral as it has been embraced by women who recently have been speaking out about sexual harassment and assault.

“Tarana Burke has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to the intersection of social justice issues, and has laid the groundwork for an international movement that inspires solidarity,” said Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward, the organization sponsoring the conference.

“We’re elated and honored that she will be sharing her words of wisdom, inspiration, and power building with the thousands of Facing Race attendees.”

Held annually since 2004, Facing Race will include panels and breakout sessions focusing on organizing and advocacy, inclusive democracy, racial identities and innovation, and arts, media and culture.

Previous Facing Race conferences have been held in Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Dallas, Oakland and New York.

Burke’s memoir, set to be released in spring 2019, will chronicle her journey and explain why she believes the #MeToo movement is needed.

She was named last week by Time magazine among the “icons” on its list of the “100 Most Influential People of 2018.” She joined Rachael Denhollander, who was the first woman to publicly accuse serial molester Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

“So often today, conversations about race, class, and gender exist in silos, and the truth is that the potential for changing lives at the intersection of all,” said Burke, senior director at Girls for Gender Equity. “I’m thrilled to be part of a space that is intentionally multiracial and multigender as we envision a meaningfully inclusive society.”