Today, the 26th I Believe Anita Hill Party will take place in Columbia, SC. This must attend event for individuals who believe in Women’s Rights had simple beginnings. In 1991 a group of women across various political, socio-economic statuses, religions, and professions gathered together to watch Dr. Anita Hill testify during Clarence Thomas Senate Confirmation Hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice. The first gathering was organic and merely a method of support. In 1992 it was decided to remember Dr. Hill’s testimony and voice it gave women with an event to mark the year anniversary. 26 years later it is still going strong.
Last year, I had the honor to meet and personally thank Dr. Hill for her courage and speaking up on such a taboo subject. When she gave her testimony in 1991 there weren’t standard workplace rules dealing with sexual harassment. It was an unspoken rule that as women there was a chance you would have to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. Dr. Hill’s testimony helped set the foundation for women to speak up and legislation to protect them.
With the latest Hollywood news of Harry Weinstein’s sexual abuses toward numerous actresses recently being revealed, we are reminded there is still much work to do. Prior to Weinstein, mega celebrity Bill Cosby’s sexual abuses were revealed. Both of these men’s accusers were sometimes questioned as to why they waited so long to come forward. The question to me shouldn’t be about when they came forward but why must women have to continually deal with sexual harassment in the workplace?
I look forward to this day when women of all ethnicities, socio-economic background, political beliefs and religions come together to remember our shero. A woman who carried truth and stood behind it. She opened the way for millions of women to speak up about their own sexual harrassmsent experiences. Dr. Hill helped set in motion legislation and workplace regulations to help provide a fair and safe workplace for women everywhere. Women are still fighting for the right to be safe in their workplaces but today we remember and continue to believe the historic and brave testimony of Dr. Anita Hill.
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