Founder of the 'Me Too' movement speaks at women's conference in Portland

(KPTV Image)

Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too” movement, was the guest speaker at a women’s conference on Friday.

At the Junior League of Portland’s first-ever women's empowerment and leadership conference, Burke shared her inspiring story.

The activist, recently featured in Time Magazine's "Time 100" list, told FOX 12 the path to where she is now was long and difficult.

Burke's career in social justice began at the age of 14 when she joined a group called the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement.

She said it gave her a voice and fueled her passion to fight against sexual violence and injustice and after college, she took a job with the organization.

During one of the 21st century's events, a young woman walked up to Burke and shared her own experience of sexual abuse.

Burke said that encounter planted a seed that would bloom 10 years later.

“This happened to me too,” Burke said. “I recognize the pain. I recognize the need to be seen and heard. That happened to me too."

A decade before the movement, the phrase "Me Too" was born, but Burke said she didn't have the courage to utter the words aloud at the time.

Instead, she remained silent.

‘This child felt safe enough with me and I rejected her,” she said. “It stuck in my spirit for so long that I knew from that point on, I never wanted to have that look on another child's face."

Today, the "Me Too” movement is now credited with bringing down many high-profile figures accused of sexual assault or misconduct such as Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby and comedian Louis C.K. to name a few.

100 percent of the funds raised will go back into the Portland community through the Junior League.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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