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'Me Too' Founder Tarana Burke Shares Journey Of A Phrase Turned Movement

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At the heart of two powerful words that propelled men and women to speak up about their experiences of sexual violence is one woman, Bronx-native Tarana Burke.

After months of fending off allegations brought forth by dozens of woman, film mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in a New York Court Tuesday to charges of Rape and Criminal Sex Acts involving two women.

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Weinstein's career downfall paralleled the rise of the #MeToo movement.

#MeToo was similarly credited for creating momentum prior to the retrial of Bill Cosby and potentially the guilty verdict that followed.

"It surprised me that people paid attention in the way they did because this is not the first time that women or people have stood up to talk about it," she said. "It's the first time that we have had so much attention actually paid."

Eyewitness News spoke with Burke during a return to Philadelphia where she headlined a Philadelphia Public Relations Association event held at the Science History Institute in Old City.

Tarana Burke me too
Tarana Burke | Credit: CBS3

While Burke grew up in New York, she spent nearly nine years living in Philadelphia, where she says the time was critical to solidifying the #MeToo movement.

"This work started because I was looking for the gaps. There were gaps in resources in our community there were gaps in services in our community and those gaps still exist," she said.

Long before it was a hashtag, "Me Too" was a phrase that Burke started using in 2006 to raise awareness for the quiet epidemic of sexual abuse and harassment. With #MeToo, the cause is quiet no more.

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