Sex, Power, and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later

Anita HillThis Saturday, October 15th in New York City, Feministing will be co-sponsoring Sex, Power, and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later.

The conference will be held at Hunter College and will feature some amazing panelists and a keynote from Anita Hill herself. The conference is free for students and a suggested donation of $20 for others. Register here.

The conference will bring together three generations to witness, respond and analyze present day realities in law, politics, the confluence of race, class and gender, the persistent questioning of women’s credibility, issues of black masculinity and current cases of sexual harassment. The conference will also include highlights from First Run Feature’s film about Anita Hill’s testimony, ‘Sex and Justice.’

Jessica wrote a great piece for The Nation about the impact of Anita Hill and the sexual harassment allegation that rocked Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings on her pre-teen years and her later years as a feminist activist.

I knew what sexual harassment was—after all, I took the New York City subway to school every day—but Hill’s testimony and the ensuing media madness made me realize this wasn’t something that happened only on trains; it was an issue that affected women throughout their lives. The idea that the nastiness I faced every day on the street could follow me as I got older—that this wasn’t a fleeting problem, and worse, it was something I might not be believed about should it continue to happen to me—was too much to bear. Hill’s ordeal sparked something in me; several months later I went to my first prochoice march with my mother in Washington and started reading feminist books in my spare time.

I’m proud of the outspoken preteen I was, glad I refused to back down over such a glaring injustice. But I’m also sad for that 12-year-old girl—because my optimism at the time, my belief that women wouldn’t be subject to this kind of harassment and character assassination forever, was just plain wrong.

The conference will be live streamed and you can watch it here.

I’m going to be there along with a bunch of the ladies from the Feministing crew so come join us for this historic event!

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One Comment

  1. Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Jessica and I are roughly the same age, so I relate to her piece, though my own personal narrative and hers could not be more different. I must admit the hearing and related controversy was perceived much differently by me and my family. I took Clarence Thomas’ side, in no small part because my father did. He is a moderate, George H.W. Bush Republican, but even so, not one to be especially progressive on issues like this.

    Now, years later, I have a kind of clarity I did not possess them. I wasn’t exposed to feminist issues until college. But whenever we reach the crucial consciousness isn’t as important as that we do, eventually. Earlier would have been better, but we don’t pick our parents and we don’t pick where we’re born.

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