The New York Times report on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of serial sexual misconduct shook the world one year ago this month, re-invigorating the #MeToo movement founded over a decade earlier by Tarana Burke that gave voice to survivors of sexual harassment and assault.
To mark the occasion, Burke and other #MeToo leaders came together today to celebrate another defining figure in their movement: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with allegations that now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in high school, and went on to tell her story in front of the entire country.
Blasey Ford’s courageous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee empowered survivors to speak up and speak out, and sparked groundbreaking acts of feminist defiance throughout Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Her decision to publicly tell her story also opened the floodgates for numerous other women who later came forward with similar allegations about the former D.C. Circuit Judge. Despite admitting she was terrified as she spoke before a panel of Senate leaders, Blasey Ford inspired women everywhere to fight back and fight on.
“With all of that fear and kindness, You Stood Up,” Burke, Amanda de Cadenet, Glennon Doyle, Tracee Ellis Ross and America Ferrera wrote in an open letter to Blasey Ford published at metoomvmnt.org. “Dr. Ford,” they added, “the result of your testimony runs deeper and wider than who sits on that court seat.”
You raised your right palm toward that committee and you lifted your head toward the sky and you closed your eyes. You stood there, in front of the world, utterly vulnerable. We witnessed you show up for duty not as a superhero, but as a fully human woman. You showed us that the new hero—the kind of heroism called for in this moment—is a woman facing the patriarchy with no weapons other than her voice, her body and the truth.
Our generation has found in you what those before us found in Professor Anita Hill: a heroism based not on greed, ego, violence, and self-serving nationalism but truth, vulnerability, and the courage to sacrifice one’s own safety for the greater good. When you stood there in front of us, Dr. Ford, we found a heroism we could not only believe in, but become…
We will be grateful forever to you, Dr. Ford. You’ll see our gratitude in our straightened spines. You’ll see it when we march, when we walk out, when we show up. You’ll see it in the voting lines that go on forever. You’ll see it when you read our names on ballots. You’ll hear it in our reawakened voices. You’ll feel it in our strengthened siblinghood.
Burke is inviting survivors and their allies across the country to join in sending their support to Blasey Ford. Click here to read the full letter and add your name.