Remarks from Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) who could not attend.
October 13, 2011
I want to thank you all for inviting me to speak today, and I deeply regret that I cannot attend this weekend. The battle to let Anita Hill’s voice be heard will always be one of the most important battles I’ve ever fought, and one of the seminal moments of my time in the United States Congress.
Throughout the hearings, our approach to a mountain of opposition was simple. We just wouldn’t accept it. In addition to our many meetings demanding that Anita Hill be allowed to speak, our small group of outraged Congresswoman stayed at the Senate Judiciary Committee throughout, listening to every minute of the hearing- our intentions clear. We were going to make sure that Anita Hill’s story was told.
I look back with mixed emotions upon one of the most important events in modern American history. The indifference that many of our male colleagues in the House and Senate showed towards Ms. Hill was really a microcosm of the way women were being treated all across our country. Women across the country were being shown what happens to you if you speak up against male superiors- and the attempts by many of our male colleagues to silence Anita Hill were reprehensible.
Yet, the grassroots uprising that the hearings sparked among American women was a great step forward for women, and a turning point in American culture. The hearing was a key moment when American women joined together to demand equality, and wouldn’t accept no for an answer. The victory that American women achieved that day is something that has always stuck with me, especially when it comes to fighting for women’s freedoms, rights and equality.
In part, that is why I’m so disappointed I can’t be with you today. One of the most important things we can do in the coming weeks, months and years, is to teach our children and grand-children about the tremendous levels of indifference and discrimination women faced just twenty years ago, and the need to always be our fiercest advocates. Thank you all for being such fierce advocate and, thank you again for inviting me to join you today.