And an even bigger treat was meeting a woman I had admired for many years. Someone who had redefined courage when the odds were stacked against her. That special guest speaker at the NEHRA dinner was none other than Anita Hill, distinguished Brandeis University Professor and champion of the truth during the 1991 Clarence Thomas Senate hearings.
Meeting Anita Hill that evening was an honor and a delight. I approached her table during the dinner and found her gracious, confident and caring. She was delighted to take a photo with me and then delivered a brilliant message on lessons learned...and not learned since those harrowing days in 1991.
As we await the possible FBI Investigation and subsequent hearings of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, let's not forget the lifetime sacrifice and courage of Anita Hill. She was ridiculed, mocked, and humiliated by the all-white male Senate boys club some 27 years ago. Despite Hill's testimony of sexual harassment, Clarence Thomas was confirmed a Supreme Court Justice and remains to this day one of the most disliked people in the black community. Anita Hill, however, is respected throughout the country and has led a dignified life of service throughout. And her actions led to countless women and men standing up and speaking out against sexual harassment, sexual assault and related acts of violence around the world.
We have a LONG way to go. This week's sudden turn of events in the Kavanaugh hearings show that sexual assault has a long memory.
Below are several Anita Hill quotes to ponder, contemplate and discuss as we examine unfinished business in our sexualized society. Brush up on your own knowledge of the issues and check out my free course on sexual harassment, Here's the link:
And join the Multicultural Symposium Series where we will talk about these issues and many more related to sexual harassment, sexual assault and finding new ways to bring dignity and respect into the lives of those who deserved to be heard and believed.
-Carole Copeland Thomas
Quotes by Anita Hill:
"I have no personal vendetta against Clarence Thomas. I seek only to provide the committee with information which it may regard as relevant."
"I resent the idea that people would blame the messenger for the message, rather than looking at the content of the message itself."
"It would have been more comfortable to remain silent."
"I thought that by saying no and explaining my reasons my employer would abandon his social suggestions. However, to my regret, in the following few weeks, he continued to ask me out on several occasions."
"I became the messenger who had to be killed."