What an extraordinary treat to have breakfast with Anita Hill. As a volunteer with Planned Parenthood here in Oregon, I was able to hear Dr. Hill at breakfast and even steal away some private time with her, well long enough for a couple of questions and to tell her how much I love her. The past 20 years have done nothing but make her even more eloquent and amazingly gracious given how ill she has been treated. Not even the nefarious Ginni can dampen the indomitable spirit of our Anita Hill.
I remember watching the Thomas/Hill hearings in 1991–what a horribly dark period of history for the United States. What is worse is the legacy of installing the bigoted and ethically challenged Clarence Thomas as a supreme court justice. Hill’s speech was gracious, hopeful, and inspiring. She addressed the issue of the economy and how it pertains to women’s health issues, quoting Susan Faludi: “All of women’s aspirations, whether for education, work or any form of self-determination, ultimately rest on their ability to decide whether and when to bear children.” How sad that 20 years after the attack on Anita Hill, we now witness a full scale attack on women’s health and reproductive rights: Indiana is just one of 8 states that has now completely dismantled Planned Parenthood, which will result in an increased financial drain on the healthcare system.
It is painfully clear that Thomas has landed on the wrong side of history, as his behavior has revealed he did in fact sexually harass Dr. Hill. Fortunately, the Thomas/Hill hearings did bring the issue of sexual harassment to the forefront. While there is still so much work to be done regarding sexual harassment. Anita Hill had the courage to use her voice and hopefully will inspire others to find the courage to use their voices.