Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Anita Hill-Twenty Years Later

It has been two decades since Anita Hill testified at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' Senate confirmation hearing. The 20th anniversary of the Hill/Thomas hearing served as a catalyst for a celebration of feminism and a discussion of the continuing impact of power and gender in the workplace that was attended by 2,000 people.

At 'Sex, Power and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later'; a forum hosted by Hunter College in New York City, Hill reaffirmed her pride in her contribution to the hearings. Hill told Saturday's audience that she realized soon after, that she would have to compartmentalize the event in order to move forward with her life. "It was an important event. It has helped to shape my life. But it is just an's not who I am."

Hill's name is still politically charged. Her story continues to be synonymous with sexual harassment in the work place. Sex, Power and Speaking Truth, was actually a follow up to a 1992 symposium, which took place in the wake of Anita Hill's testimony.

In October of 1991, a sexualized episode of political theater played out in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the world via television. The initial Judiciary Committee hearing for then, Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had concluded. After media reports surfaced which accused Thomas of sexual harassment, the committee was forced to hold a second set of hearings.

Anita Hill, at the time, was a 35-year-old law professor at the University of Oklahoma; told the committee that Thomas had sexually harassed her when she worked as his special assistant at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Education. The all white, and all male senate committee was lead by Vice President Joe Biden, who was a U.S Senator from Delaware at the time. Hill was forced to provide an explicit account of the harassment, which included describing pornography.

Members of the U.S Senate publicly accused Hill of perjury. Opinion polls taken after Hill's testimony indicated that 70 percent of Americans thought Hill lied during her testimony.

"Seven out of ten people that I saw at the grocery store thought I had perjured myself," said Hill on Saturday, when she was asked to reflect on everyday life following her testimony.

On, October 15, 1991 Thomas was confirmed to a lifetime appointment to the U.S Supreme Court by a vote 52 to 48. He remains on the bench today and is by any measure the Supreme Court's most conservative justice.
Source: The Grio

For the record, I always have and always will believe Anita Hill.
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