Nevertheless, She Persisted

In the Midst of Fiery Kavanaugh Hearings, Anita Hill Will Speak In Houston

The attorney and academic sat in Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's seat 27 years ago. Tomorrow, she'll address the past, present, and future of the #MeToo movement at a global conference for women in technology.

By Abby Ledoux September 27, 2018

Professor Anita Hill testifies before Congress on October 11, 1991 during Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you've been glued to the Senate Judiciary Committee livestream at your desk today, you're not alone. The usual music that fills our headphones has been replaced with the enthralling, at times infuriating, testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the man she's accused of sexually assaulting her, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, for hours now. It's one of the rare, extraordinary instances when you know history is being written. This is an unequivocally critical moment.

And, for some, it's a familiar one. It's practically impossible not to draw parallels between this and the testimony of Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas at that SCOTUS justice's own confirmation hearings 27 years ago. The Kavanaugh hearings have thrust Hill, an attorney and professor, back into national headlines. And tomorrow morning, she's coming to Houston.

It's incredible timing, as Hill is scheduled to speak on September 28 at the Grace Hopper Celebration, billed as the world's largest annual gathering of women technologists presented by in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery. The summit, held this year at the GRB, began on Tuesday, but tomorrow's events are particularly salient given the featured session from Hill: "The Past, Present, and Future of the #METOO Movements."

"Listen to the trailblazing Professor Anita Hill recount her first-hand experience speaking truth to power and combating sexual harassment in the workplace," the event description reads. "Professor Hill will inspire with her embodied bravery and tenacity, and encourage women and allies alike with actionable strategies for moving past dialogue, and toward action in creating inclusive and safe workspaces for all women."

Four years before Hill's testimony captured the nation, Dr. Anita Borg founded a digital community for women in computing. That's since grown into the leading organization of its kind with a presence in more than 50 countries and partnerships with academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies alike. The Grace Hopper Celebration, cofounded by Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney in 1994, is named for the legacy of Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper and came to fruition after the women technologists were "tired of attending conferences with almost no other women."

It's a full-circle moment, then, to have Hill in town at this particular point in time—at a gathering born out of a desire to raise up women's voices, no less. She was announced as a featured speaker at this year's conference back in June, a full month before Trump chose Kavanaugh as his SCOTUS pick.

Registration is closed, but you can follow along online as posts highlights and livestreams from the conference. It's a pivotal moment for our nation with all sundry of compelling perspectives to hear. We, for one, will be listening intently to Professor Hill's.

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