Attorney, Professor of Law, Bestselling Author, and Equality & Civil Rights Advocate
Anita Hill, whose courage has inspired generations, is renowned for her work with civil and women’s rights, in pursuit of social justice, and to combat sexual harassment. Her voice has been prominent in academia, politics, and in the media regarding gender, race, and equality; the Washington Post has called her a “leading face” of the ongoing #MeToo movement.
Anita Hill is a university professor of social policy, law, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Brandeis University and a faculty member of its Heller School for Social Policy and Management. In her 1997 memoir, Speaking Truth to Power, Hill recounted her 1991 Congressional testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. “Women who accuse men, particularly powerful men, of harassment are often confronted with the reality of the men’s sense that they are more important than women, as a group,” she wrote.
When Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school, Hill penned a New York Times op-ed on the parallels to her own experiences: “With the current heightened awareness of sexual violence comes heightened accountability for our representatives. To do better, the 2018 Senate Judiciary Committee must demonstrate a clear understanding that sexual violence is a social reality to which elected representatives must respond.”
Speaking Truth to Power
Anita Hill exemplifies moral courage, throughout her career, she has spoken truth to power, reminding us of the impact that a single voice can have. As our graduates prepare to make their difference in the world, I have no doubt they will find both strength and inspiration in her words as in her life.
Hill’s book, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence, is the winner of the 2022 ABA Silver Gavel Award for Books. Anita’s previous book is Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home. She has also written an autobiography, Speaking Truth to Power. With Professor Emma Coleman Jordan she co-edited, Race, Gender and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings.
Professor Hill’s commentary has been published in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Ms. Magazine. She has appeared on national television programs including “Good Morning America”, “Meet the Press”, “The Today Show”, “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Larry King Live”.
Honors and Awards
Professor Anita Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oklahoma State University and a JD from Yale Law School as well as several honorary degrees and civic awards. She has chaired the Human Rights Law Committee of the International Bar Association. In addition, she is on the Board of Governors of the Tufts Medical Center and the Board of Directors of the National Women’s Law Center and the Boston Area Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.
American history is peppered with social movements that fought for the equal rights of marginalized groups: the civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights movements, to name a few. It cannot be denied that we’ve made great progress as a nation, but it must be recognized that there is still much work to be done. Professor and advocate Anita Hill asks us to reimagine equality and what it takes to get there. How do we move beyond the legal rights that are necessary but ultimately limited in scope to a place of true belonging, acceptance, and embrace? The fight for equality cannot be won by simply changing laws. It is a collective and sustained effort in which we all have a role. In this talk, Hill urges you to discover your unique contribution to the greater good and to making the spaces you inhabit a welcoming home for all.
Believing: The First Step to Change
When Anita Hill testified against then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991 with allegations of workplace sexual harassment, she made history by bringing a conversation usually shrouded in shame and handled behind closed doors into the public consciousness. Her intrepid testimony, challenging one of the country’s oldest and strongest institutions, inspired others with similar experiences to share their stories and come together to create change. Inciting moments like these make clear the power and impact of a single story, a single voice, a single action. When the time comes, will you be brave enough to stand up for the things that matter? It has been over 30 years since her testimony and the fight for gender equality continues. This talk will leave you with the information, inspiration, and motivation necessary to confidently grab the baton and do your part in the cause that sparks your fire.