Tarana Burke speaks onstage during The 2019 MAKERS Conference at Monarch Beach Resort on February 8, 2019 in Dana Point, California.
Photo: Vivien Killilea (Getty Images for MAKERS)

As the discussion around sexual violence continues and we collectively consider how best to combat it at its roots, education is key—as is accountability. With that in mind, this spring, ‘me too.’ is launching a first-time, five-stop HBCU tour across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States, with support from Lifetime Network and The Root.

Featuring founder Tarana Burke and scholar Dr. Yaba Blay, ‘me too.’ will bring its initiative to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in an effort to foster both greater understanding of the issues and structural support within comparatively underserved institutions. Burke and Blay (also founder of the Professional Black Girl platform) are currently two of the leading voices in addressing the myriad issues of intersectionality, particularly as they affect victims of sexual violence.

“Our goal is to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors,” said Burke in a statement. “Young black people across the diaspora—along spectrums of class, gender, sexuality, and ability—rely on and invest in HBCUs not to just facilitate an education, but to keep them safe while doing so. We’re holding academic institutions accountable and harnessing our collective power to create strategies for sustained systemic change.”

Tarana Burke (l) and Dr. Yaba Blay
Photo: Courtesy of Me Too.

Launching at Howard University in Washington, D.C., the ‘me too.’ HBCU tour will be “a multi-city initiative centered around creating safe and accountable communities for students, faculty and administrators.” The experience will include meetings with campus leaders, panel discussions, fireside chats with Burke, Blay and special guests, including author-activist Darnell Moore, and former NFL player-turned gender equality advocate Wade Davis. Most significantly, the tour will also include campus-wide commitments to preventing sexual assault.

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“As millions continue to focus on the pervasiveness of sexual violence, #metoo has continued to be a tool for galvanizing voices both affected by and advocating against this violent reality,” read a statement. “College campuses are often the first line of defense in the work to create safe and accountable communities for their students and faculty, and as such, have been instrumental in the growth of this movement. However, HBCUs have not been able to move the work forward similarly on their campuses. The ‘me too.’ HBCU Tour will attempt to explore this disparity and set in motion some strategic actions to close the resource gap.”

The ‘me too.’ tour launches on April 2, 2019, which plans to continue in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020. The first leg of the tour includes stops at:

  • April 2 – Howard University, Washington, DC (with special guest Darnell Moore)
  • April 9 – Atlanta University Center: Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, & Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA (with special guest Wade Davis)
  • April 12 – Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL (special guest TBD)
  • April 18 – North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC (with special guest Wade Davis)
  • April 19 – Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL (with special guest Wade Davis)

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Speaking on the impact and importance of ‘me too.’ within the black community, Blay said, “It’s easy to get swept up in the energy of viral moments like the one we’re in with ‘me too.’, but we need not forget that they are spurred by real, grassroots movements, typically led by black people and people of color. This college tour is a chance to move beyond social media and give young people a place to process, reflect, and strategize. We are committed to facilitating commitments from HBCUs and helping students and faculty create solutions for safer campuses and communities.”

The ‘me too.’ HBCU Tour is free, but registration is encouraged. For more information about ‘me too.’, visit metoomvmt.org. The Root is an official media partner of the ‘me too.’ HBCU Tour.