On March 14, Our VOICE will host “Me Too” movement founder Tarana Burke as part of the organization’s Break the Silence Speaker Series. Our VOICE is Buncombe County’s rape crisis and prevention center and Break the Silence is the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year. Annually, Break the Silence highlights the voice of a national leader, activist or survivor who has dedicated their life to sexual assault prevention. “In reference to her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault, Tarana Burke coined the phrase ‘Me Too,’” says Angelica Wind, executive director of Our VOICE. Burke first used the phrase in 2006, while working with young black women and girls from low-wealth communities for whom she developed a culturally informed curriculum to discuss sexual violence. The phrase has since inspired survivors of sexual violence from all over the world, with the #metoo social media hashtag campaign generating more than 13 million Facebook posts and tweets. Burke was named a 2017 TIME Magazine Person of the Year for her role in breaking the silence around sexual violence. She was also named to TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2018. “Her message is inspirational: together, we are creating a movement— because it’s not just a moment—and that this movement is actively shaping and changing our cultural norms now and for future generations to come,” says Wind.
The event, held at the Asheville Renaissance Hotel, will begin at 5 p.m. with networking and a cash bar. The program begins at 6 p.m., followed by a champagne reception. Tickets are $10 for students, $35 for individuals and $100 for VIP. Our VOICE is also seeking community sponsors for the event. “All sponsors stand by us as allies for this event and as partners in our work as an agency, sustaining vital services like our 24/7 crisis line, hospital accompaniment for all survivors of rape and our advocacy and prevention programming in schools,” she says. “It’s a chance to support survivors right here in our community.”
The Asheville Renaissance Hotel is located at 31 Woodfin Street. For more information about sponsorship opportunities and ticket sales, visit OurVoiceNC.org/Events/SpeakerSeries.