Marai Larasi (photo credit: Michelle Beatty)
Guardian journalist Maya Wolfe-Robinson chairs a discussion between activist Marai Larasi and writer and communications strategist Chelsea Fuller. Larasi is Director of Imkaan, a UK-based women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls, and Fuller is Senior Communications Manager at US-based Blackbird, a strategic communications firm which services racial and social justice organisations and is a key innovator behind the #MeToo movement and the Movement for Black Lives in the US.
In Sojourner Truth’s iconic 1851 speech ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ the former slave and abolitionist preacher denounced the ways in which the women’s suffrage movement was failing Black women. Truth demonstrated how Black women’s position at the intersection of race and gender was prohibiting their recognition as women. Truth concluded that women are oppressed in varying configurations and to varying degrees, a concept which was later coined ‘intersectionality’ by critical race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw. Today, intersectional feminism acknowledges that oppression intersects with systems of society such as race, gender and class.
Founded in 2006 by African-American civil rights activist Tarana Burke in response to the sexual violence she saw in her community, the #MeToo movement centres upon the power of empathy between survivors of sexual assault. The movement was popularised on social media in 2017 when allegations against Harvey Weinstein led to his arrest. Established in 2014, the Movement for Black Lives is a coalition of groups across the US which represent the interests of Black communities. It was created as a response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities, with the purpose of forming a united front and securing a political platform.
Working at the intersection of racial justice and advocacy against sexual violence, Marai Larasi and Chelsea Fuller discuss the roots of the Movement for Black Lives and #MeToo, examining what has changed since their popularisation, the challenging conversations yet to be had between them, and the potential ground for future collaboration.
Intersectional Feminism in the Time of #MeToo
is presented by the ICA and Level Up
, a feminist organisation launched in January 2018 with the mission of building a community of feminists who can work together to end sexism in the UK.
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