Tag Archives: Anita Hill

On Hearing Christine Blasey Ford Speak the Whole Truth

Jane and Anita
Jane and Anita

So, it has taken me a while to come back to the blog, but sometimes life just compels you to rant. When I met the amazing and powerful Anita Hill a few years ago after her visit to Asheville sponsored by  “Our Voice” (www.ourvoicenc.org), the wonderful local organization that “serves all individuals in Buncombe County affected by sexual assault and abuse,”  I had a feeling that I could relax a little because things were getting better, that we were actually learning from the past and moving into a brighter future for women in this country

I no longer feel that way.  Especially not this week.  All I feel is sad and angry and frustrated and overwhelmed by the power of persistent white male privilege.  So, forgive me for ranting, but  here is my take on things.  And I really don’t care if it is a poem or not.  I just care that it says what I feel!

Christine and Anita

On Hearing Christine Blasey Ford

Where is the one-piece swimsuit

To shield her today

From his smirking, roaring

Privilege?

I went to Yale!

They promised!

Don’t you cross me, bitch!

 

She sits there,

facing the worst,

acknowledging her own losses,

even smiling at her legislators,

remaining proudly

who she is.

“I’m sorry.  What does exculpatory mean?”

She waits for them

to welcome her

into a civic process.

 

But the rules of this game

were set long before

She picked up the phone

To do the right thing.

For her country,

For these old white men

And sad white women

Who do not deserve her.

 

We do not deserve her.

 

The row of stone faces is immutable,

but inside they cringe

in the face of

one woman’s indivisible

truth;

they shrivel in

Inadequacy.

She wasn’t supposed to be this

believable.

She’s not playing the game.

Somebody get a hook!

 

They pretend to listen,

Until, bursting blood vessels

Of righteous indignation and fear,

They welcome him back

to the chair.

So much better.

So much safer here

Under the warmth of his anger,

His crocodile tears,

The world they know and love,

Brett’s world!

After all, they worked their buns off

(and some other people’s)

To get here!

They can’t let their sons down!

I like beer. We all like beer.

What’s the score?

How many beers?

How many Devil’s Triangles?

How big is your

gavel?

Am I really a Senator?

Wait a minute!

Did you pass out from drinking in college?

I don’t know.  Did you?

 

So, the whole lot of them,

The smug, confident, fading specters,

Decide

To refuse

to remember

that they have daughters.

And where are their wives?

Crying silently at home

Over sappy, romantic movies?

 

The entire reigning party–

Every last one of them,

Including a few scared plantation ladies,

Clutching for dear life to their own

Scratched-out crumbs of power,

Lacks the imagination

To weep for someone else’s daughter,

Or remember Anita Hill.

Not one of them

Has the living, breathing

guts

To move one step away

From this darkening world,

Where Trump is king,

And we have all tumbled

Down the rabbit hole.

 

How much courage would it take

To hear her?

How much

to say “This matters.”

Just one, maybe two people.

That’s all we need

To let a few million women,

Clinging by their fingernails

To the country

they used to believe in,

breathe out.

Instead of, once again,

The boot in the face,

The powerful punch in the gut:

“Frankly, Scarlett,

We don’t give a damn.”

 

 

 

 

Anita Hill: A Hero for All of Us

Jane
Jane

Anita Hill came to our town last week as the keynote speaker for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Our Voice”, our wonderful rape crisis/education/prevention center here in Asheville.

When I heard she was coming, I was immediately right back there on my sofa in Roxbury, New York, glued to the television set, watching every moment of those hearings.  I remembered how I felt completely inspired by her courage, her composure, her refusal to back down.  And I relived how completely horrified and despairing I felt when that panel of white men managed to find a way to approve Clarence Thomas anyway.  Along with millions of other women, I felt kicked in the gut.

Anita HillSo, I was excited to see her.  What I didn’t expect was how, once again, I would be completely inspired by this amazing woman.

Here is a woman whose life was turned upside down simply because she decided to come forward, to do the right thing, to speak the truth.  Here is a woman who believed in our system of justice and fairness, only to get kicked in the gut herself.  But here is a woman who also has never backed down and has managed to find a way to forgive all those people on the Judiciary Committee and to say, “it was not the failure of those individuals; it was the failure of the system.”  The committee, after all, decided not to call in experts to testify or to bring in the other women who were ready to corroborate her testimony.  But here is also a woman who, when asked if she would do it again, answers yes, without a doubt.  “I found my voice in 1991, and I am not about to give it up ever again,” she said.  She said that is what kept her going, what brought her back to life after the hearings, were the letters and phone calls from people all around the country who thanked her for giving them the courage, finally, to speak out, to bring sexual harassment or sexual violence against them out into the light of day–to confront their predator and to bring justice.

I have to say it brings me great pleasure to see how, in the big picture, she has come out on top.  She is a national icon, a hero for women everywhere.  While that other person, who will remain nameless, will always be associated in most people’s minds with sexual harassment and othe predatory behaviors. Continue reading Anita Hill: A Hero for All of Us

Our Voice’s 40th Anniversary Celebration: Anita Hill in Asheville!!

Anita HillWe invite you to join us on September 4th for Our VOICE’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, 40 years of Starting Conversations, at the Diana Wortham Theatre featuring keynote speaker Brandeis University Professor of Law Anita Hill. Ms. Hill started a national conversation by disclosing her experience of workplace sexual harassment and focused the country’s attention on a difficult topic too often met with avoidance and silence. Welcome reception is scheduled for 6 pm; program beginning at 7 pm.  

One of the biggest challenges we face in ending sexual violence is silence. Many survivors are silent about their experiences, often due to the shame, fear, and victim-blaming that our society perpetuates. Many community members are also silent because the topic makes us uncomfortable or we feel disconnected.

But while it can be hard to think and talk about, remaining silent is the surest way of encouraging the harassment, abuse, assault, and rape that affect so many in our community.For forty years, we have been committed to breaking that silence by starting and sustaining conversations with many different people and community partners. Our counselors start conversations with survivors regarding their next steps to recovery.

We start conversations with law enforcement agencies and medical centers to improve responses to sexual violence. We start conversations with students around staying safe online and bystander intervention. We start conversations with Spanish-speaking survivors who are now able to work with one of our 4 bilingual staff members. We do this work because we know that in order to prevent sexual violence we all have to talk about it, and once we are all talking about it, we are working toward eradicating it.

Our meaningful accomplishments throughout our agency’s forty-year existence have been possible only through the caring involvement and generous support from people like you and me. Much work remains to be done, none of which can happen without our continued support.

With this in mind, we invite you to sponsor the Our VOICE 40th Anniversary Celebration. Enclosed is a list of sponsorship opportunities for your review. You will find a number of sponsorship benefits, including a reception with Ms. Hill, but undoubtedly the most valuable benefit is offering the opportunity for healing to people who have experienced a great injustice and helping us prevent these crimes from ever happening. Community support is essential to the work of Our VOICE.

We invite you to be part of it.
All the best,
Andrew B. Parker,  Board President

Angélica R. Wind, Executive Director

To purchase tickets to this wonderful event, visit Our Voice’s website at www.ourvoicenc.org.  Also, join us for a special screening of the documentary, “Anita HIll:  Speaking Truth to Power” at the Fine Arts Theater, Asheville, Thursday, August 28th, 7 p.m.  Tickets on sale at the theater for $10!!!!

Fabulous Women Over 50: Lillian McEwan

Jane

 

 Even though it’s 19 years too late, and even though it probably won’t make a bit of difference in the big scheme of things, it still makes me completely and thoroughly happy that attorney Lillian McEwan came forward to talk about what a scumbag Clarence Thomas was when he was her boyfriend—how he loved pornography and talked all the time about women’s breasts.  It’s especially gratifying, considering that Ginni Thomas, the poor fool who is married to him, recently sent a voicemail to Anita Hill, asking her to APOLOGIZE for all those mean, bad things she said about her husband all those years ago!  

 Lillian McEwen dated Clarence Thomas before he was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

 Lillian McEwan, photo from CNN, Larry King Live Show. 

I’m a woman over 50 who has been stewing over this for years.  And I have a feeling I’m not alone.  If you are like me, you probably watched the hearings (I was glued to my television)  and felt trampled on by the final decision.  You suffered with Anita Hill.  You could not believe that your country could allow a man like that to become a Supreme Court justice. You wanted Anita Hill to rise, shining from the hearings instead of put down.  You saw the awful underside of American politics that still didn’t offer an equal place to women at the table, and you wished you hadn’t seen it.  You wished that someone like Lillian McEwan would have stepped forward right then, right there, to corroborate Anita Hill’s courageous testimony. Continue reading Fabulous Women Over 50: Lillian McEwan