Tarana Burke, Ai-Jen Poo, Saru Jayaraman and Other Activists On Why They Appeared at the Golden Globes

By Sameer Rao Jan 08, 2018

Me Too campaign creator Tarana Burke, National Domestic Workers Alliance director Ai-Jen Poo, Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United) president Saru Jayaraman and several other female activists of color made intersectional justice for sexual assault survivors a core part of last night’s (January 7) 75th Golden Globe Awards.

Burke, Poo and the other organizers in attendance released a statement ahead of the ceremony that emphasized the importance of women of color, immigrants, working-class women and LGBTQ people in the current movement against sexual assault in the workplace. Their emailed statement speaks to the pledged actions against structural sexism of the Time’s Up coalition of women in entertainment (including the actresses who invited the activists to the Golden Globes). Here is the full text of the statement:

As longtime organizers, activists and advocates for racial and gender justice, it gives us enormous pride to stand with the members of the Time’s Up campaign who have stood up and spoken out in this groundbreaking historical moment. We have each dedicated our lives to doing work that supports the least visible, most marginalized women in our diverse contexts. We do this work as participants in movements that seek to affirm the dignity and humanity of every person.

Too much of the recent press attention has been focused on perpetrators and does not adequately address the systematic nature of violence including the importance of race, ethnicity and economic status in sexual violence and other forms of violence against women. Our goal in attending the Golden Globes is to shift the focus back to survivors and on systemic, lasting solutions. Each of us will be highlighting legislative, community-level and interpersonal solutions that contribute to ending violence against women in all our communities. It is our hope that in doing so, we will also help to broaden conversations about the connection to power, privilege and other systemic inequalities.

Many of us identify as survivors of sexual harassment, assault and violence ourselves and we believe we are nearing a tipping point in transforming the culture of violence in the countries where we live and work. It’s a moment to transform both the written and unwritten rules that devalue the lives and experiences of women. We believe that people of all genders and ages should live free of violence against us. And, we believe that women of color, and women who have faced generations of exclusion—Indigenous, Black, Brown and Asian women, farmworkers and domestic workers, disabled women, undocumented, and queer and trans women—should be at the center of our solutions. This moment in time calls for us to use the power of our collective voices to find solutions that leave no woman behind.

This past year was a powerful one in the fight for gender equity and against sexual violence against women—from the Women’s March to the re-emergence of "me too" as a viral hashtag that brought more than ten years of survivor-centered work to the mainstream. There is still much work to do, and many hands required to do it. We want to encourage all women—from those who live in the shadows to those who live in the spotlight, from all walks of life, and across generations—to continue to step forward and know that they will be supported when they do.

The #TimesUp initiative joins an ever-growing collective of organizations, movements, and leaders working to end gender-based violence. We look forward to partnering with them and others to organize, support all survivors, and find solutions that ensure a future where all women and all people can live and work with dignity.

The statement’s signatories include former Green Party vice-presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, Imkaan executive director Marai Larasi, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas president Mónica Ramírez and Native musician and activist Calina Lawrence.

*Post has been updated to reflect the most recent version of the statement.