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Presidential Lecture and Virtual Conversation with Tarana Burke, April 21

April 12, 2021

Dear Stony Brook Community,

I am writing today to let you know that the extraordinary Tarana J. Burke — activist, advocate, founder of the ‘me too’ Movement and Time magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year — will join me for a virtual conversation on Wednesday, April 21, at 5 pm, as part of the Presidential Lecture Series. I’m thrilled to invite you to attend this important event.

In a long and dynamic career spanning nearly 30 years, Ms. Burke has dedicated herself to ending the systemic violence that disproportionately surrounds marginalized people, particularly Black women and girls. The impact of Ms. Burke’s interdisciplinary and intersectional work between racial justice, arts and culture, anti-violence, and gender can be felt around the world. Her many initiatives, including the programs through her nonprofit, JustBe Inc., and her development of the ‘me too’ Movement and ‘me too’ International, have marked a seismic shift in our collective dialogue and action around sexual violence. They have broken new ground in our understanding of power and bodily autonomy, and brought the focus back to survivors with access to resources, support, and empowerment through empathy. Founded by Ms. Burke in 2006, the since-viral ‘me too’ Movement has inspired millions, truly changing the landscape for healing and survivor leadership, and providing the world with a new perspective with which to disrupt a cycle of violence. 

It is a privilege to host Ms. Burke and hear directly from this groundbreaking activist of our time. I encourage you to suggest questions for the conversation, which will be considered as time permits. Please visit the Stony Brook Presidential Lecture page to submit your questions and register to receive the link to this Zoom event. Deadline for the submission of questions is April 19 at 5 pm.

Guided by your questions, Ms. Burke will discuss several topics, including the many aspects of her career and history of advocacy. Tarana J. Burke has truly helped change the fabric of the society around us, and her critical work is not nearly done. Please join me in welcoming her; learning from her; and advancing action around injustice, sexual violence, and healing.

Prior to the conversation, we will bestow upon Ms. Burke the Honorary Degree Doctor of Humane Letters. In 2019, the State University of New York chose to grant her this degree for all she has done and continues to do to support sexual abuse survivors and to help young girls succeed. Due to unforeseen circumstances and restrictions related to the pandemic, we were unable to present her with this well-deserved honor until now, and are so looking forward to this long-awaited event.


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Maurie McInnis