In the aftermath of the hearings, a band of women met in Columbia to discuss how they might seize upon the moment conjured by Hill’s testimony in order to address the pervasive inequalities they felt existed toward women.
“We started getting together and talking about what we could do,” said Eve Stacey, another one of the original event organizers. “What we came up with was a social event, and networking. It started small. It has evolved over the years.”
Two large banners were strung up between trees spanning the entrance sidewalk to Smith’s home to welcome people to the first “I Believe Anita Hill” event as autumn approached in 1991. A table was set up so that people could sign in.
“The number of women who showed up was much more than expected. It was amazing!” Smith said.
Organizers endeavored to create an opportunity for women to come together, share their stories and build a network of mutual support. It has been 25 years since the inaugural gathering, and organizers’ hopes are high that the 25th annual “I Believe Anita Hill” event will continue to exceed expectations. Hill, currently a professor of law, public policy and women’s studies at Brandeis University, is scheduled to be present for this year’s event.
Hill also will be speaking at the University of South Carolina School of Law auditorium during her visit to Columbia.