Women dominate talks at Brooklyn’s #MeToo Kingdom

Founder of the Me Too movement,Tarana Burke, speaks during Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.
Photo by Vinette K. Pryce

Distinctly female could well describe a program presented by Brooklyn Academy of Music on the 90th birthday anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the day dedicated for a national holiday named for him.

On an evenly-balanced platform, featuring opinionated men and women, the latter seemed particularly expressive about the state of the feminine gender and the one least represented in the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies and corporate America.

BAM President, Katy Clark, Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, City Council Majority Speaker, Laurie Cumbo, First-lady of NYC, Chirlayne McCray, keynote speaker Tarana Burke and a film about a Latina Civil Rights stalwart named “Dolores” addressed plights of feminists’ concerns.

Each presenting numerous aspects of deficiency and under-representation within their ranks they added to a discourse nationally demonstrated on a holiday following the third Women’s March protesting the Donald Trump presidency — which is perceived to be anti-female.

Burke, activist and founder of the #MeToo Movement amplified her stance on empowering women.

“Women get little notice,” she said.

In order to counteract the practice, she suggested that women strategize. In explaining a process she implemented, she detailed how she planned to build a movement.

“Things happen when they are supposed to happen,” she said.

She explained that her advocacy which erupted in 2006 — by becoming viral — did not begin that year.

After years working under a radar the nation took notice.

“It is not a campaign or initiative…it is a movement that is actively working to interrupt sexual violence.”

During her keynote address, she credited stalwarts whose names may be unfamiliar and unheralded.

Chicago-born Diane Nash who toiled to integrate lunch counters in Birmingham, Alabama by leading sit-ins was deservedly lauded.

Nash also led the Selma Voting Rights campaigns and joined Freedom Marches throughout the south.

Burke also hailed Ella Baker for her role in becoming ‘the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Marie Foster, another stalwart of the Civil Rights Movement also merited mention. Known as “the Mother of the Voting Rights Movement, Foster’s name added to those Burke praised as trailblazers.

They “envisioned the possibility of a different world.”

McCray, the mayor’s wife, endorsed Burke’s message.

“We all share responsibility,” the First Lady echoed.

Reflective from attending the Women’s march, she expressed pride and gratitude for the election of newly-installed, youngest ever, Latina, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Ortiz. Ocasio spoke at the rally during the third national protest.

Perhaps the most alluring new House member since whipping her incumbent 10-term rival Democratic challenger during last year’s primary elections, the Bronx-born native made her very first run for political office at age 28.

Using a fraction of the budget doled out by her opponent, she emerged the first in 14 years to even challenge the seat.

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