Before Alyssa Milano, #MeToo began with activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 9:36 AM

Activist Tarana Burke created the Me Too movement over 10 years ago to  amplify the voices of survivors of sexual abuse, assault and exploitation, particularly women of color.
@strangebirdproductions
Activist Tarana Burke created the Me Too movement over 10 years ago to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual abuse, assault and exploitation, particularly women of color.(@strangebirdproductions)

In wake of mounting sexual harassment and assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, Alyssa Milano tweeted a call to victims to share their stories. 

“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” the actress wrote in October.

The hashtag spread far and wide, but Milano isn’t the originator of using the phrase to bring attention to these stories. That credit belongs to Tarana Burke, a New York-based sexual assault, abuse and exploitation activist.

>> Read more trending news

“It's not about a viral campaign for me,” Burke told CNN Oct. 17. “It’s about a movement.”

CNN reported that Burke began the movement -- the genesis of which happened in 1996 -- when she was a youth camp director and heard a young girl’s story of abuse.

“For the next several minutes this child ... struggled to tell me about her ‘stepdaddy’ or rather her mother’s boyfriend who was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her developing body…” Burke wrote on the Just Be youth organization website. “I was horrified by her words, the emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut, and I listened until I literally could not take it anymore…which turned out to be less than 5 minutes. Then, right in the middle of her sharing her pain with me, I cut her off and immediately directed her to another female counselor who could ‘help her better...’

“I could not muster the energy to tell her that I understood, that I connected, that I could feel her pain,” she wrote, later adding, “I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.”

Burke told CNN she began the movement to help young women of color who survived sexual exploitation, abuse and assault. 

“It started with young people and I quickly realized adults needed it too,” she said. “When you experience trauma and meet other people that have a similar experience, and you show empathy for each other, it creates a bond.”

#MeToo continues to be tweeted and shared on other social media spaces, including Facebook and Instagram. 

“Somebody asked me, does this (campaign) amplify your work? And it does in a certain way, but also when this hashtag dies down, and people thinking about it, I'll still be doing the work,” Burke told the Los Angeles Times

“I think the viral moment is great but the amplification of that -- I worry about disclosing their status as survivors en masse on social media and not having space to process,” she told CNN. “I worry about survivors coming on to social media and being bombarded with messages of ‘me too.”

What Is "Me Too" On Social Media?

Milano has since tweeted that she was made aware of the origin of the movement. “(T)he origin story is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring,” she wrote with a link to the Just Be website.

Before then, some were critical, Ebony magazine reported. To a number of women of color on Twitter, Milano’s elevation of #MeToo and the day-long Twitter boycott following Rose McGowan’s temporary account deactivation ignored the fact that black women and other women of color are excluded from conversations. 

“Where was the boycott when actress and comedian Leslie Jones was harassed by trolls to the point of deleting her account for months?” writer Ashley C. Ford wrote in a Refinery29 essay.

“I think that women of color use social media to make our voices heard with or without the amplification of White women,” Burke told Ebony. “I also think that many times when White women want our support, they use an umbrella of ‘women supporting women’ and forget that they didn’t lend the same kind of support.”

“I don’t think it was intentional but somehow sisters still managed to get diminished or erased in these situations,” she added. “A slew of people raised their voices so that that didn’t happen.”

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21-year-old drowned trying to save child at the beach, family says

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 2:05 AM

File photo of Panama City Beach, Florida.
justinhatl / Pixabay.com
File photo of Panama City Beach, Florida.(justinhatl / Pixabay.com)

Friends and family of a 21-year-old Cartersville, Georgia, man who drowned at Florida's Panama City Beach over Father's Day weekend say he died a hero.

>> Watch the news report here

Tony Jackson Jr. was on vacation swimming with friends when a strong current pulled him under.

>> 2 Georgia men drown over Father’s Day weekend in separate incidents in Gulf of Mexico

WSB-TV's Michael Seiden spoke with Jackson's friend, Muhammad Qasim, who was at the beach with him and witnessed the accident. 

Qasim told Seiden that just before they planned to leave, Jackson had turned back in the water to try to save a child who had fallen off a float.

>> What parents need to know about 'dry' and 'secondary' drowning

“I was right next to him in the water, but when he tried to go toward the kid and the wave hit him, the wave just dragged him back 10 feet," Qasim said. "There was nothing I could’ve done.”

Rescue crews recovered his body two hours later. 

>> Children may face drowning danger 24 hours after hitting the pool

Jackson's family is now trying to raise enough money to fly his body back to Georgia so they can bury him. They say it will cost around $1,700. 

“The main thing is to just get him home; that’s the biggest thing," said Jackson's mother, Latanisha. 

>> GoFundMe to bring Tony Jackson's body home

She hopes the public will step up to help. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the expenses. They hope to raise $10,000 to pay for transportation and funeral arrangements. 

In the meantime, the family is remembering a man who they believe risked his life to help a complete stranger. 

“He had a big heart. He would do anything for anybody,” Latanisha told Seiden. 

>> Read more trending news 

“He was a hard worker and he would do anything," Qasim said. "He would literally give the shirt off his back for anybody.”

Qasim says there was no warning posted about dangerous conditions in the water. A spokesman for the Panama City Beach Police said red flags were flying before the drowning, warning swimmers not to get in. 

Qasim says that isn't true. 

Click here to help the family.

Water Safety Tip

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17-year-old shot, killed by police in Pennsylvania

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 2:31 AM

A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot.
WPXI.com
A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot.(WPXI.com)

A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Visit WPXI.com for the latest on this developing story

According to the Allegheny County Police Department, the vehicle the teen got out of matched the description of a vehicle seen near a shooting that occurred in North Braddock around 8:20 p.m.

An officer from the East Pittsburgh Police Department was handcuffing the driver when two males ran from the car, authorities said.

One of those males was the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news 

The Allegheny County Police Department is asking the other person who ran away from the vehicle to turn himself in "so that he can give a comprehensive description of what occurred."

The victim in the North Braddock shooting, a 22-year-old man, was treated for his injuries and released from an area trauma center.

The Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit is investigating both incidents. 

Related

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2 Georgia men drown over Father’s Day weekend in separate incidents in Gulf of Mexico

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 9:09 PM


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Two men from North Georgia drowned in separate weekend incidents off Panama City Beach, police said.

>> Read more trending news 

Eugene Spann, 67, of Atlanta, was declared dead after being pulled from the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday morning, authorities said.

The body of Tony Orlando Jackson, 21, of Cartersville, was found Sunday afternoon about two hours after he was caught by a large wave, according to police.

Police and emergency workers took over life support efforts from bystanders when they found Spann unresponsive on the beach behind a motel short after 11 a.m. He was taken to an emergency room on the beach, where he was pronounced dead.

A search effort involving several agencies eventually found Jackson’s body. Police originally responded to a call about a swimmer in distress about 2:30 p.m.

>> Related: Florida man chugs beer during DUI stop, deputies say

Police said surf flags were at the red “high hazard” level when Jackson drowned. That was up from the yellow “medium hazard” designation at the time of Spann’s death.

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7-month-old baby dies in hot car in Georgia, police say

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 1:22 AM

5 Ways to Avoid Hot Car Deaths

Police say they are not releasing any additional information about the death of a 7-month-old who was found in a hot car in Camden County, Georgia, near the Florida border.

>> Watch the news report here

Kingsland officers were called to a motel Tuesday after reports that an infant was not breathing, the police department said. The child was declared dead.

>> 10 ways to prevent a hot car death

Neighbors told ActionNewsJax's Amber Krycka that it was a boy who was found outside the Quality Inn in Kingsland.

Krycka spoke to a man who rushed to help and said the baby was extremely hot. He said he didn’t want to be identified because he’s in the military.

>> Mom warns of sunless heatstroke after toddler almost doesn't wake up from nap

“She was screaming. She was just saying, 'Save my baby, save my baby,'" he said.

He said the mother was lying on the ground with the baby wrapped in a blanket.

>> Read more trending news 

“I got over there and unwrapped him,” said the man.

He then performed infant CPR on the baby, but it was too late.

No one has been taken into custody, the police department said.

Temperatures in Camden County reached about 90 degrees Tuesday, with “feels-like” temps near 100 degrees. 

Temperatures can rise quickly in an enclosed car. In 90-degree weather, the temperature inside a car can reach almost 110 degrees in 10 minutes. Temperatures reach almost 125 degrees within 30 minutes.

Kingsland Police Department's full statement:

"The Kingsland Police Department is investigating an infant death. In the afternoon of June 19th, 2018, officers from the Kingsland Police Department were dispatched to a local motel in reference to an infant not breathing; upon police arrival to investigate, the child was declared deceased. 

"No suspect(s) have been taken into custody at this time. 

"We are attempting to handle the investigation with the utmost sensitivity and care out of respect for the family as possible to ensure the integrity of our investigation. Dealing with an infant death is hard enough for a family to deal with without added stress from publicity. 

"We would like to ensure that our investigators have adequate time to conduct their investigation to accurately put the facts together before we release any further information. 

"No additional information will be released at this time — including the baby’s time, place and cause of death; relation to the caller — until investigators conclude the investigation."

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