19 Million #MeToo Tweets Later: Alyssa Milano and Tarana Burke Reflect on the Year After #MeToo

19 Million #MeToo Tweets Later: Alyssa Milano and Tarana Burke Reflect on the Year After #MeToo

By Paulina Cachero

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 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.

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.

"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.

"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."

"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.

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