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What Is #TIMESUP And How Will It Help Women Of Color?

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It’s the new movement focused on ending sexual harassment in the workplace … but who is it really supporting?

You may’ve seen #TIMESUP floating around on your social media and most likely have asked yourself, “what is this?” 300 prominent actresses and female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives have banded together in an effort to combat the wave of sexual harassment complaints that have come to light in recent months and support the hundreds of thousands of women who have been affected. But it’s not just about Hollywood, this is actually an agenda set forth to protect those without privilege, as well.

The NY Times reports that the initiative includes:

— A legal defense fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.

— Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.

— A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway.

— And a request that women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and raise awareness by wearing black.

So, what does this mean for women of color. Unfortunately, and quite often, we are the ones who’s voices go unheard. Or when our voices are heard, we are often dismissed, called liars and treated unfairly. Will #TIMESUP help us? Well, the coalition includes a number of Black women who have been making a difference in Hollywood for quite sometime; Shonda Rhimes, Rashida Jones and Kerry Washington are members of the committee alongside prominent entertainment attorney Nina Shaw. This is promising. These are women who will make sure Black women are provided for, acknowledge and treated equally. Also, focusing on women in career fields like restaurants, factories and nursing, guarantees women of color will be helped since it is typically minorities women who are employed (and assaulted) in these industries. Now, they will have the support they need to speak up and feel protected.

#TIMESUP is about more than just wearing black down the red carpet, this initiative has the opportunity to make change … and not just the opportunity, but the funding. In just days #TIMESUP has already amassed millions of dollars in donations.

And with notable celebrities like Halle Berry speaking out about #TIMESUP, it’s only a matter of time before even more money is raised and even more women get the help they deserve.

Learn more about #TIMESUP and www.timesup.org.

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