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Celebrating Black History: Oklahoma Native Anita Hill

Posted at 11:36 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 00:26:42-05

TULSA, Okla. — Many argue before the #MeToo movement became a wave of collective awakening starting in the 2000s, a strong ripple came in 1991 with Anita Hill.

Academic, educator, and activist Anita Hill has spent over 30 years advocating for victims of “gender-based violence” in the work place, on the streets, in homes, and any public place where people of any gender, in which they identify, coexist.

Hill says her career fighting for equal rights is bigger than what she expected, but she was built for it.

“This is not the path I thought my career would take,” Hill said. “But I honestly feel like this was something I was meant to do.”

Hill was thrust into the national spotlight in October of 1991 when she was called to testify in a televised hearing when she called Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’ character into question.

On October 11, 1991 on national television, Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment. Hill says the harassment happened while he was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"I didn't start out to have a movement or spark a movement, I started out really addressing the issue that was before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Hill said. “Abusive behavior that happens in the workplace should not be tolerated.”

Hill spoke out during a time when public discussions about sexual harassment in the work place were considered ‘taboo.’ But Hill says it was her moral responsibility to do so.

"It was a choice on my part, but it was also a choice to do activism in the way that I knew how to do activism,” Hill said.

After that land-mark moment, Hill's calling became clear.

"I didn't know then that I'd hear from sexual assault victims or war incest survivors, I didn't know I would hear from domestic abuse survivors," Hill said. "You start to hear your calling at a certain point.”

Since then, Hill has written multiple books, given countless speeches, and received many awards.

Most recently the Sankofa Award in Oklahoma, her home state.

However, Hill says she isn’t done advocating and fighting for equality.

“I am going to continue to use my voice and my skills to push us towards better equality, towards true equality,” Hill said. "But this is a relay, and I'm going to run my legs, but I know I'm going to pass the baton to the next generation of social justice, warriors of the future and their vision will be even bigger than mine.”

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