This piece was published by Ms. magazine.
Today marks the second anniversary of the viral explosion of Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement—and she marked the occasion by launching the #MeTooVoter online campaign calling on political leaders to address sexual harassment and design solutions for safer workplaces.
“It’s imperative that all of the presidential candidates and others in public service realize that survivors are constituents who work, pay taxes and contribute to society every single day so the issues that impact us should be taken seriously,” Burke said in a statement announcing the campaign. “We’re calling on candidates to lay out their specific plans to address sexual violence and to take action on the pending policy proposals that would also support survivors.” Burke today tweeted a call for questions about #MeToo to be included in tonight’s debate, which will feature 12 Democratic candidates and all of the current front-runners.
“Political leaders and candidates must treat this issue as one of the most pressing social, health, economic and safety issues of all time,” Monica Ramírez, President of Justice for Migrant Women and Gender Justice Campaigns Director for National Domestic Workers Alliance, said in the statement. “Survivors are powerful and demand action. Through #MeTooVoter, we are calling on survivors and allies to use our collective power to hold political leaders and candidates accountable at the ballot box.”
Ramírez, alongside Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center and Aijen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, joined Burke today in announcing the new effort, which will “push elected leaders and candidates to develop solid policy proposals that will support survivors’ healing, provide necessary services and benefits, invest in prevention and reform legal protections to ensure that they cover all survivors, regardless of the kind of sexual violence or harassment they experienced or where they experienced it.”
The campaign is meant to span mediums—raising questions and sparking conversations around sexual harassment and violence online and on the ground in communities across the country.
“We’re in the midst of an unprecedented cultural conversation about sexual violence and harassment, and about gender and power,” Goss Graves said in the statement. “When #MeToo went viral, hundreds of thousands of people courageously spoke out about the ways in which they had been harmed and the ways institutions had let them down. Their experiences demand systemic solutions, and now is the time for voters to come together and tell our lawmakers that we are waiting to hear how they will answer this call.”
According to a recent survey by the National Women’s Law Center, and as part of the Supermajority’s Majority Rules campaign in 2020, a majority of voters want lawmakers to better address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
“Leaders who want to represent us should consistently address our concerns and reflect our values,” said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-founder of Supermajority. “#MeTooVoter is a call to all political leaders to recognize the power of survivors as constituents and their responsibility to prioritize ending sexual violence.”