The 2019 Sydney Peace Prize Jury chose the Me Too movement from over 200 nominations from the community. The Me Too movement has changed the way we understand and talk about sexual harassment and violence, by highlighting the breadth and impact of sexual harassment and violence around the world, in homes, public spaces, and workplaces.
Tarana Burke began building the movement in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly black women and girls, connect to resources for healing, and to build a survivor-led community of advocates against sexual violence. Her grassroots work has now expanded to reach a global community of survivors from all walks of life.
Tracey Spicer is a journalist, author and broadcaster who has spearheaded the Me Too Movement in Australia. She has produced award-winning investigations into sexual harassment in media workplaces, and created NOW Australia in 2018 to support those who have been sexually harassed in their workplace and to advocate for safe workplaces.
The 2019 Sydney Peace Prize Jury’s citation reads:
The Me Too movement: “For empowering survivors of sexual harassment and violence, and elevating their voices; for championing truth and justice; for highlighting the breadth and impact of sexual violence worldwide; and for launching a demand for change that is sweeping the world.”
The Sydney Peace Prize is Australia’s international prize for peace, awarded by the Sydney Peace Foundation at the University of Sydney. The Prize recognises leading global voices that promote peace, justice and nonviolence. Laureates include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Dodson, Naomi Klein, and the Black Lives Matter Global Network.
Tarana and Tracey welcomed the Prize:
“Receiving the Sydney Peace Prize pushes the prevalence of sexual violence further into the global conversation, and along with it, the belief that together we can put an end to it... The Me Too movement will continue this work until we shift the culture to one that believes that every person, no matter their identity or circumstance, has the right to consent and safety.” - Tarana Burke.
“It is a tremendous honour to accept this international prize alongside Tarana Burke, who started the Me Too movement more than a decade ago. This movement shows that solidarity is the key to creating lasting change. We know that women from marginalised communities experience sexual violence at an exponentially higher rate than the rest of the population. It’s time for government, business and the community to help those who need it most. I dedicate this prize to everyone who is a survivor of sexual violence: your voices are being heard.” - Tracey Spicer.
The Sydney Peace Foundation’s Chair Archie Law observed the incredible impact Me Too has had on the entrenched status quo in Australia and the world over: “The Me Too movement has enabled women to stand together, rise up and tell the world that we have had enough of being disregarded, undervalued and ignored. Me Too has crashed through the status quo and allowed us all to catch a glimpse of the brighter future that lies ahead.”
2011 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Professor Noam Chomsky lauded the 2019 Jury’s selection of Me Too: "I was very pleased to learn that the Peace Prize is being awarded to the Me Too movement, which has effectively broken the silence on deplorable practices and significantly raised general consciousness, a major contribution to human rights."
2018 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz commended the awarding of the Prize to Me Too: "Around the world, the Me Too movement has given women the courage and the comradeship to speak out against sexual harassment and violence. This is not only a fight for justice, but a battle against one form of inequality that has long been entrenched in our society."
2014 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Julian Burnside AO QC applauded the choice: "It is a wonderful thing that Me Too is to be awarded the Sydney Peace Prize…The Me Too movement has done a remarkable job drawing attention to a problem which was recognised by virtually all women and virtually no men. Since men are at the heart of the problem, it is a great thing that no man will now be believed if they say they are unaware of the problem Me Too has exposed."
The Sydney Peace Prize recognises the vital contributions of leading global peacemakers, and creates a platform so that their voices are heard. Laureates inspire us to be the change we want to see, and are awarded a $50,000 prize to support their efforts.
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