A brief history of the Annual Anita Hill Wake-Up Call Anniversary Celebration
In 1991, University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill enthralled the nation by testifying against United States Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. In mid-October, millions of Americans were riveted to their TVs late into the night to see Anita Hill and others give live testimony before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Women were outraged and men were bemused as a very poised Professor Hill described a pattern of sexual harassment by Thomas, who was at the time, her boss and head of the Office of Civil Rights in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The outrage that women felt started with the experience that Anita Hill described, and continued with the disparaging treatment she received from Senate Judiciary Committee members on live TV, and with the reaction of men, both on the Judiciary Committee and across the nation, to Professor Hill’s testimony. Men tended to disbelieve her story, or alternatively, believe that she had condoned Thomas’ behavior when she neither filed any formal complaint nor quit working for him. Women, on the other hand, got it! Many, if not most women had either experienced sexual harassment first hand, or had known someone who had experienced such treatment. These women understood the dilemma of responding to sexual harassment, taking into consideration the effect on both personal life and career.
A group of local women who shared the outrage wanted to channel the energy of those many powerful women. Early efforts involved women’s policy work, lobbying on women’s issues, and political campaign organization. The first Anita Hill Wake-Up Call Anniversary Celebration was held in October 1992, one year after those enlightening confirmation hearings. Anita Hill joined us for the Party in 1997 while she was promoting her biography, Speaking Truth to Power.
The Anita Hill Wake-Up Call Anniversary Celebration is an annual reminder of the outrage, of the effect of the different perspectives of men and women, of the need for more women in politics and other policy-making positions, and of the need to get involved, to stay involved, and to stay in contact with other strong women of all ages and backgrounds.
Come join us for food and fellowship!