Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement that has been central to holding men accused of sexual misconduct responsible for their actions, has been tapped to drop the ball this year in Times Square for the annual New Year’s Eve celebration. The decision to honor her cements the notion that this year has been one of tremendous progress for women.
Burke is credited with starting the movement in 2007 as a means to help sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities. It gained renewed steam this year when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted about it following widespread sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Burke was recently featured among “The Silence Breakers” who were honored as Time‘s Person of the Year, though many were distressed that Burke, who is seen as a stalwart of the movement, was not on the magazine’s cover.
“New Year’s is a time when we look at the most significant cultural and political moments of the last year, when we look for inspiration by honoring and giving a global platform to those who have made a difference. Tarana Burke’s courage and foresight have changed the world this year, and, we hope, forever,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, who chose Burke for the honor. Last year’s ball drop was presided over by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
The symbolism of choosing someone at the forefront of a movement that has come to, for better or worse, define 2017, to ring in the New Year is not lost on Burke. “I think it’s fitting to honor the Me Too movement as we close a historic year and set our intentions for 2018. With the new year comes new momentum to fuel this work and we won’t stop anytime soon,” she said in a statement.