EDITORIAL: Urban, We Need to Talk About #MeToo

Jack Cogen, Opinions Editor

The second half of 2017 and these early months of 2018 have been characterized by the anti-sexual abuse movement #MeToo as well as Time’s Up, a legal fund with similar goals set up after Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes. TIME Magazine chose the women who broke the silence on sexual abuse in Hollywood as their Person of the Year, and the news aggregate site Flipboard placed the Harvey Weinstein allegations and #MeToo at the top of their “2017 in Scandal and Controversy” list. The Weinstein case in particular has caused public perception to locate these scandals and the movement as a whole in Hollywood, but #MeToo and Time’s Up have national and international implications that affect our local community in the Bay Area.

A local Driver’s Ed instructor who has worked with several Urban students was accused of sexual misconduct by over two dozen young women, an event with major local impact in San Francisco high school circles. Urban has barely addressed these movements and their effects–as well as the effects of the harassment these movements seek to rectify–on the student body, and this issue of the Urban Legend seeks to start these conversations.

Urban’s mission statement emphasizes both diversity and honesty as well as making efforts “to instill in students a sense of mission and purpose as citizens of the larger community and world.” One way to work towards this goal could be embracing challenging conversations about social movements with the potential for real worldwide impact. The Multi-Culti club’s annual Month of Understanding, for example, which features daily lunchtime panels on issues relating to identity and politics, had no forum regarding the #MeToo movement. This feels like a missed opportunity. Urban tries to make a conscious effort to highlight different perspectives in events such as the Month of Understanding, but there may still be student voices that need to be heard by the larger community. As a high school in which many students will be learning about sex and consent for the first time, as well as a community affected by sexual harassment and assault, Urban has a place in and responsibility to the #MeToo movement.