The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.



One of the founders of the viral #MeToo movement, who were honored by Time Magazine last week, has her roots in Philadelphia. 

The former Philadelphia activist Tarana Burke started the "Me Too" campaign on her MySpace page years before it was recently re-introduced by the actress Alyssa Milano as a hashtag. 

In 2003, Burke founded the organization Just Be Inc., which offers support to victims of sexual assault to promote healing. Four years later in 2007, Burke renamed the movement "Me Too." 

Burke, who is a three-time sexual violence survivor, worked with victims of sexual assault in Selma, Alabama during the 1990s and early 2000s, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. She told the Inquirer that she regretted avoiding one of the woman who she knew had experiences of sexual assault. 

“I cut her off,” Burke remembered. “She was so hurt and devastated. That moment taught me the power of empathy. All she needed was to hear the words, ‘Me, too.’ ”

After that encounter, Burke launched the "Me Too" movement, moved to Philadelphia, and became actively involved in non-profit organizations targeted towards victims of sexual assault.

A decade later, the "Me Too" movement has expanded beyond what Burke imagined. As Milano's tweet calling on victims to share their stories went viral across the world, many victims of sexual assault stepped forward to name their assaulters. These have included high-profile figures in industries ranging from entertainments to education and government. 

Last month, a Boston University professor was found responsible for directing 'sex-based slurs' to a former Penn professor. And several weeks later, a former Penn doctoral student came forward as one of three women who said the literary critic and Stanford University English Professor Emeritus Franco Moretti made inappropriate sexual advances towards them.

Penn students have also voiced concerns about on-campus sexual harassment. A year ago, the student group "We Are Watching" protested a sexually-suggestive email sent by the off-campus organization OZ to freshmen women. 

More recently, graduate students have also started a petition to improve sexual harassment policies within their school and call attention to instances of sexual harassment by faculty.