“It would have been more comfortable to remain silent. But when I was asked by a representative of this committee to report my experience, I felt that I had to tell the truth. I could not keep silent.”
– Anita Hill
On April 5, 2014, Atlanta Women for Equality proudly hosted a screening of ANITA followed by a 30-minute open discussion about sexual harassment at work, the effect Anita Hill’s testimony continues to have in our lives, and the ways we can work together to carry on her legacy. The discussion was lead by a panel of attorneys representing organizations including Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, and the Georgia affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association.
Advisory Board member Jessica Wood (from left to right) and our fabulous law student interns Graham Burkhalter, Sam Croffie, and Christen Morgan at the ANITA screening
Nearly 23 years ago, Anita Hill testified before a U.S. Senate committee that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her when he was her supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. As the nation watched, Anita withstood a barrage of demeaning questions about Thomas’s unwanted advances in the workplace, as well as humiliating demands that she repeat verbatim the graphic, sexually explicit comments he made to her. Although four women waited in the wings to corroborate her claims, they were never called to testify, and Thomas’ appointment was confirmed.
Directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Freida Mock, ANITA: Speaking Truth to Power is a compelling new documentary that revisits an extraordinary moment in the women’s rights movement: a moment that initiated arguably the most widespread public dialogue in history about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Many of us still remember Anita’s testimony like it was yesterday, when we waited with bated breath for the words we knew would have a profound, irrevocable impact on the way our country would address sexual harassment in the future.