FAYETTEVILLE – Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist and founder of the “me too” movement, and former first lady Laura Bush will speak as part of the student-sponsored Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Burke will speak Thursday, March 28, at the Fayetteville Town Center, and Bush will speak Thursday, April 18, at Bud Walton Arena, according to a news release.

“We are thrilled to host a record number of women speakers this year,” said Christine Carroll, student chair of the Distinguished Lectures Committee. “The committee members are excited about this year’s guests and the different points of view they bring to students and the greater campus community. If the response to our fall lecture featuring Laverne Cox is any indication, we expect great turnouts for Ms. Burke and Mrs. Bush.”


Burke is a civil rights activist and the original founder of the “me too” movement. She began using the “me too” phrase while working at Just Be Inc., a nonprofit she founded in 2003 that focused on the overall well-being of young women of color. In 2006, she began her campaign for activism to help females who experienced sexual harassment, abuse or assault and #MeToo became a global phenomenon in 2017, according to the release.


Bush, former first lady of the United States, is an advocate for literacy, education and women’s rights. As first lady, she advanced literacy and education to support young people. Currently, as the chair of the Woman’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, she continues her work on global health care innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform and supporting the men and women who served in America’s military, according to the release.