Future Entrepreneurs: Silence Breakers

14 Dec Future Entrepreneurs: Silence Breakers

Future Entrepreneurs: Honoring the Silence Breakers

 

I’m so grateful that our October story and alignment with #DayoftheGirl resonated with readers. Just days after Day of the Girl when we stood up to empower and inspire women, actor Alyssa Milano tweeted a call-out to victims “so we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” The #MeToo Twitter and social media movement that has now reached 85 countries. It is important that it does not go away. I am currently working on a book and a film that help share stories of the women who are rising above sexual harassment and abuse.
Yes, this cover story and statement resonates with me.

 

Donald Trump tweeted a teaser that he was “probably going to be named” TIME magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017. Two weeks later the respected magazine broke its silence, naming the “Silence Breakers” its persons of the year.

 

TIME’s cover featured five prominent women in the #MeToo movement: Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, and Isabel Pascual, whose name was changed to protect her identity. Sure, this voice and movement rose in Hollywood, but it has a much wider reach. Look closer: It also includes the right elbow of someone anonymous.

 

In an interview last week, TIME Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal discussed the woman whose face is obscured on Today, noting that she is symbolic of all those women and men who have yet to come forward and may be struggling to do so for fear of repercussions.
#MeToo continues a movement, a reckoning. It was sparked with acts of courage by individuals, as great social change nearly always is. The actor who went public with the story of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s “coercive bargaining” in a Beverly Hills hotel suite two decades earlier. The strawberry picker who heard that story and decided to tell her own. The young engineer whose blog post about the frat-boy culture at Silicon Valley’s highest-flying startup prompted the firing of its founder and 20 other employees. The California lobbyist whose letter campaign spurred more than 140 women in politics to demand that state government “no longer tolerate the perpetrators or enablers” of sexual misconduct. A music superstar’s raw, defiant court testimony about the disc jockey who groped her.

 

Yes. And the online movement started before that October Sunday, with activist Tarana Burke more than 10 years ago. Ms. Burke, the program director for Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity she told CNN: “It’s not about a viral campaign for me. It’s about a movement.”

 

We are in the midst of this upheaval. There is still so much that we still don’t know about the ultimate impact. How far-reaching will the movement be? Hollywood and the media—the industries that have thus far been home to most of the prominent cases—live in a coastal bubble. It is not terribly surprising that it popped up there first. I appreciate stories shared by Reese Witherspoon after keeping her silence for decades; hopefully we will see some more strong women’s stories with her production company Pacific Standard, in this new era since “Gone Girl” and “Wild”. Stories still circulate in Los Angeles, but that does not mean that the behavior of a Charlie Rose or Matt Lauer is any less prevalent elsewhere. There are countless realities in corporate corner offices and executive teams punishing whistle blowers who tell the truth. Or the experiences in backrooms of restaurants, factories and small businesses across the country. The novels and films I am writing and producing center on women’s stories within these sectors, and they have valuable and intriguing journeys to share. The strongest test of this movement will be the extent to which it changes the realities of people for whom telling the truth simply threatens too much.

 

I often post “believe in your story”. Frequently, this applies to writing. Now we see that it has a much wider reach in this movement as well. I wish for the courage to tell your story. I thank the writers and producers who believe in the stories we are getting ready to share in book and film form. Yes, it’s time.

 

We often used the term “whistle blowers” before “silence breakers”. I will wrap this piece with a way to help empower women and fight violence with a modern way to raise the alarm. The Wishwall has partnered with iMaxAlarm in December. Read more about it and thank you for your support => https://imaxalarm.com

 

Preview of my upcoming blog and entrepreneurial wisdom:
Proud to say that I’m having dinner with a smart and engaging entrepreneur who has helped creatives do well in business: Kelly Leonard. Kelly has worked at The Second City for nearly three decades in various creative and leadership positions. He has produced shows with such notable talent as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Keegan Michael Key and Steve Carell. He has created shows with Lyric Opera Chicago, The Kennedy Center, and has made deals and led collaborations with Universal Studios. His book, Yes, And: Lessons From The Second City, was published by HarperCollins in 2015 to critical acclaim. We’ll discuss this book over authentic Italian food at Nando Milano in Chicago. Stay tuned for that post!

 

Cheers & fair winds,
Akasha Lin

 

Article by Akasha with contribution from TIME, Today and CNN.
Cover photo composite by Billy & Hells for TIME.

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