It appears that the #MeToo movement is on course to end gender-based violence. Tarana Burke, the founder of #MeToo, pushed the button that began the ball drop on New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Irony aside, we are witnessing an unprecedented coalescing of women in support of one another.
700,000 women farmworkers of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas wrote an open letter in support of the women of Hollywood and helped spark the launch of Times Up.
Times Up is a Hollywood based initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment. It includes a $13 million dollar legal defense fund to support women who might not have the resources to fight back.
And here I must acknowledge the tireless local effort to end human trafficking by La Crosse’s Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Their Task Force to End Modern Slavery partnered with Breaking Free, to create a video series entitled, “The Faces of Human Trafficking”. That series will premiere throughout this month.
And we must never forget the ongoing assault on indigenous women due in large part to extreme extraction of resources. Man camps are on the rise with every pipeline, construction site and refinery. Mainstream media and voices of the status quo have long ignored the plight of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Sometimes we must work very hard to learn the truth.
And so it was with great surprise that on a recent visit to my birthplace, Beaver County Pennsylvania, I learned of the effort by police to prepare for the onslaught of construction workers entering the county making way for Shell’s new ethanol plant there. And to what end are the preparations?
Police concerns are not merely the increase in traffic or the drain on social services –but it is an awareness that with transient workers comes an increase in human trafficking…
Yes, #MeToo has been needed for a long time – and while it is too late for far too many, let us pray that we can continue this courageous effort to end gender and power based violence once and for all.
For more information listen to Democracy Now’s coverage of from January 12.