19 Million #MeToo Tweets Later: Alyssa Milano and Tarana Burke Reflect on the Year After #MeToo
Oct 15, 2018
Oct. 15 marks the moment actress Alyssa Milano sent out the tweet that became a viral call to action for women to openly say #MeToo.
In a video the actress and activist released on the one-year anniversary of the history-making post, Milano reveals what spurred her to ask fellow survivors of sexual assault to bravely come forward: her daughter Elizabella.
One year ago I recorded this for my daughter, explaining why I shared my story of sexual assault. I never expected to release it publicly. Now, I feel it's too important not to share. #MeToo— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2018
I love you so. I will fight so you don't have to.
Love, mama pic.twitter.com/TYk5XXFksY
"One night, when I was lying in bed with you, I looked down at you and your sweet beautiful face. And I got really scared," Milano tearfully recounts in the video. "I got scared for you. And I sent out a tweet asking women to stand in solidarity and a lot of people replied."
Since then, the declaration "me too" has become a battle cry for women and men who have been sexually assaulted, with more than 19 million tweets using #MeToo since the actress' initial tweet. "Our collective pain became our collective power," Milano writes.
One year ago today, you shared with me your #MeToo stories.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2018
Our collective pain became our collective power. #MeTooOneYearLater
Thank you @TaranaBurke for being a force for good. https://t.co/LAp37QT2nu
That tweet also led to the emergence of another powerful voice in the movement: The founder of the original "me too." movement Tarana Burke.
This time last year, Burke's experience was very different compared to Milano's. The actress had woken up to thousands of people saying #MeToo without recognizing that Burke had started the movement for young girls of color about more than 12 years ago.
A year ago today I thought my world was falling apart. I woke up to find out that the hashtag #metoo had gone viral and I didn't see any of the work I laid out over the previous decade attached to it. I thought for sure I would be erased from a thing I worked so hard to build. + https://t.co/VmfwTxhcIo— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) October 15, 2018
"The reality of me being lost in this narrative—and the possibility of that—is a reality. But for me, the decision was: Am I going to be in conflict in this moment? Or am I going to be who I said I was, which is somebody who was in service of survivors?" Tarana Burke tells MAKERS in an exclusive interview. "And that wasn't hard."
However, a group of black women familiar with Burke's work including New York Times best-selling author Luvvie Ajayi and TV personality Bevy Smith made sure that Burke's work in this movement would not be erased. After a video of the "me too." speech Burke made in 2014 went viral, Milano immediately tweeted an apology and reached out to Burke asking "how she could amplify my work," Burke recalls.
The whole time I was fretting about saving my work and I didn't realize that 'my work' was happening right in front of me.— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) October 15, 2018
"MeToo is a tiny part of a large movement that's been happening for decades," Burke tells MAKERS. "What good does it do for me to make sure that my work isn't erased to only erase other people? What's the point of that? Then that means I'm out here alone, and this work can't be done alone."
Thank you to everyone who has shown me so much love and support this year. I hope that I represent and stand for survivors of sexual violence in a way that makes you proud. Please know that our work is never ending. In fact its just beginning. +— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) October 15, 2018
"A lot of women are working really hard to make sure that silence is not the norm for your generation," says Milano in a video to her daughter. "My biggest hope for you is that you never have to say 'me too.' But if you do, god forbid, if you do ever have to say 'me too,' that you will be heard and that you should speak your truth. "
According to Pew Research Center, the current number of tweets average to over 55,000 #MeToo tweets a day and Burke aims to continue amplifying those voices in the years to come.
"The way you dismantle those power structures is by truth," Burke says. "That whole idea of speaking truth to power comes from the idea that the more truth that you tell, the less power people have over you."
Watch all of MAKERS' exclusive interviews with Tarana Burke here.